Send to

Choose Destination
Genes Dev. 1993 Jun;7(6):974-85.

A conditional sterile mutation eliminates surface components from Arabidopsis pollen and disrupts cell signaling during fertilization.

Author information

Department of Biochemistry, Stanford University, California 94305.


Plants distinguish among the pollen grains that land on the stigma, permitting only compatible pollen to fertilize egg cells. To investigate these cell-cell interactions, Arabidopsis mutations that affect pollen-pistil communication were isolated. A male-sterile mutation that disrupts pollen-pistil interactions by eliminating the extracellular pollen coat (tryphine) is described here. Stigma cells that contact the mutant pollen produce callose, a carbohydrate synthesized in response to foreign pollen. The mutant pollen fails to germinate because it does not absorb water from the stigma, yet germinates in vitro, indicating it is viable. The defect is also conditional; high humidity results in pollen hydration and successful fertilization. Analysis of mature, mutant pollen indicated that it is deficient in long-chain lipids and has none of the lipoidic tryphine normally present on its surface. Immature mutant pollen grains have aberrant tryphine that disappears during pollen development. The sterile plants also lack stem waxes, and pollen from other wax-defective (eceriferum) mutants with reduced fertility has few of the lipid droplets normally present in tryphine. These results demonstrate that tryphine is critical for pollen-stigma interactions and suggest that tryphine lipids are required for fertilization, either by directly signaling the stigma or by stabilizing other tryphine components.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center