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Mol Plant. 2013 Jan;6(1):216-25. doi: 10.1093/mp/sss071. Epub 2012 Aug 20.

NAD+ accumulation during pollen maturation in Arabidopsis regulating onset of germination.

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Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences-IMCB, University of Tokyo, 1-1-1 Yayoi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0032, Japan.


Although the nicotinamide nucleotides NAD(H) and NADP(H) are essential for various metabolic reactions that play major roles in maintenance of cellular homeostasis, the significance of NAD biosynthesis is not well understood. Here, we investigated the dynamics of pollen nicotinamide nucleotides in response to imbibition, a representative germination cue. Metabolic analysis with capillary electrophoresis electrospray ionization mass spectrometry revealed that excess amount of NAD+ is accumulated in freshly harvested dry pollen, whereas it dramatically decreased immediately after contact with water. Importantly, excess of NAD+ impaired pollen tube growth. Moreover, NAD+ accumulation was retained after pollen was imbibed in the presence of NAD+-consuming reaction inhibitors and pollen germination was greatly retarded. Pollen deficient in the nicotinate/nicotinamide mononucleotide adenyltransferase (NMNAT) gene, encoding a key enzyme in NAD biosynthesis, and a lack of NAD+ accumulation in the gametophyte, showed precocious pollen tube germination inside the anther locule and vigorous tube growth under high-humidity conditions. Hence, the accumulation of excess NAD+ is not essential for pollen germination, but instead participates in regulating the timing of germination onset. These results indicate that NAD+ accumulation acts to negatively regulate germination and a decrease in NAD+ plays an important role in metabolic state transition.

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