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Plant Physiol. 2008 Nov;148(3):1201-11. doi: 10.1104/pp.108.126375. Epub 2008 Sep 5.

Transcriptome analyses show changes in gene expression to accompany pollen germination and tube growth in Arabidopsis.

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State Key Laboratory of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, College of Biological Sciences, National Plant Gene Research Center, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China.


Pollen germination, along with pollen tube growth, is an essential process for the reproduction of flowering plants. The germinating pollen with tip-growth characteristics provides an ideal model system for the study of cell growth and morphogenesis. As an essential step toward a detailed understanding of this important process, the objective of this study was to comprehensively analyze the transcriptome changes during pollen germination and pollen tube growth. Using Affymetrix Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) ATH1 Genome Arrays, this study is, to our knowledge, the first to show the changes in the transcriptome from desiccated mature pollen grains to hydrated pollen grains and then to pollen tubes of Arabidopsis. The number of expressed genes, either for total expressed genes or for specifically expressed genes, increased significantly from desiccated mature pollen to hydrated pollen and again to growing pollen tubes, which is consistent with the finding that pollen germination and tube growth were significantly inhibited in vitro by a transcriptional inhibitor. The results of Gene Ontology analyses showed that expression of genes related to cell rescue, transcription, signal transduction, and cellular transport was significantly changed, especially for up-regulation, during pollen germination and tube growth. In particular, genes of the calmodulin/calmodulin-like protein, cation/hydrogen exchanger, and heat shock protein families showed the most significant changes during pollen germination and tube growth. These results demonstrate that the overall transcription of genes, both in the number of expressed genes and in the levels of transcription, was increased. Furthermore, the appearance of many novel transcripts during pollen germination as well as tube growth indicates that these newly expressed genes may function in this complex process.

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