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Plant Physiol. 2009 Feb;149(2):694-707. doi: 10.1104/pp.108.131128. Epub 2008 Dec 17.

Analyses of advanced rice anther transcriptomes reveal global tapetum secretory functions and potential proteins for lipid exine formation.

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Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology, Academia Sinica, 11529 Taipei, Taiwan.


The anthers in flowers perform important functions in sexual reproduction. Several recent studies used microarrays to study anther transcriptomes to explore genes controlling anther development. To analyze the secretion and other functions of the tapetum, we produced transcriptomes of anthers of rice (Oryza sativa subsp. japonica) at six progressive developmental stages and pollen with sequencing-by-synthesis technology. The transcriptomes included at least 18,000 unique transcripts, about 25% of which had antisense transcripts. In silico anther-minus-pollen subtraction produced transcripts largely unique to the tapetum; these transcripts include all the reported tapetum-specific transcripts of orthologs in other species. The differential developmental profiles of the transcripts and their antisense transcripts signify extensive regulation of gene expression in the anther, especially the tapetum, during development. The transcriptomes were used to dissect two major cell/biochemical functions of the tapetum. First, we categorized and charted the developmental profiles of all transcripts encoding secretory proteins present in the cellular exterior; these transcripts represent about 12% and 30% of the those transcripts having more than 100 and 1,000 transcripts per million, respectively. Second, we successfully selected from hundreds of transcripts several transcripts encoding potential proteins for lipid exine synthesis during early anther development. These proteins include cytochrome P450, acyltransferases, and lipid transfer proteins in our hypothesized mechanism of exine synthesis in and export from the tapetum. Putative functioning of these proteins in exine formation is consistent with proteins and metabolites detected in the anther locule fluid obtained by micropipetting.

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