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J Exp Bot. 2010 Feb;61(4):1159-75. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erp392. Epub 2010 Jan 22.

Cell wall components and pectin esterification levels as markers of proliferation and differentiation events during pollen development and pollen embryogenesis in Capsicum annuum L.

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Plant Development and Nuclear Architecture group, Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas, CIB, CSIC, E-28040 Madrid, Spain.


Plant cell walls and their polymers are regulated during plant development, but the specific roles of their molecular components are still unclear, as well as the functional meaning of wall changes in different cell types and processes. In this work the in situ analysis of the distribution of different cell wall components was performed during two developmental programmes, gametophytic pollen development, which is a differentiation process, and stress-induced pollen embryogenesis, which involves proliferation followed by differentiation processes. The changes in cell wall polymers were compared with a system of plant cell proliferation and differentiation, the root apical meristem. The analysis was also carried out during the first stages of zygotic embryogenesis. Specific antibodies recognizing the major cell wall polymers, xyloglucan (XG) and the rhamnogalacturonan II (RGII) pectin domain, and antibodies against high- and low-methyl-esterified pectins were used for both dot-blot and immunolocalization with light and electron microscopy. The results showed differences in the distribution pattern of these molecular complexes, as well as in the proportion of esterified and non-esterified pectins in the two pollen developmental pathways. Highly esterified pectins were characteristics of proliferation, whereas high levels of the non-esterified pectins, XG and RGII were abundant in walls of differentiating cells. Distribution patterns similar to those of pollen embryos were found in zygotic embryos. The wall changes reported are characteristic of proliferation and differentiation events as markers of these processes that take place during pollen development and embryogenesis.

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