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Plant J. 1995 Nov;8(5):703-14.

Identification of genes required for pollen-stigma recognition in Arabidopsis thaliana.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.


In higher plants, cell-cell recognition reactions taking place following pollination allow the selective restriction of self-pollination and/or interspecific pollination. Many of these systems function by regulating the process of water transfer from the cells found at the stigmatic surface to the individual pollen grain. Interspecific pollination studies on the cruciferous weed Arabidopsis thaliana revealed only a broad specificity of pollen recognition such that pollen from all tested members of the crucifer family were recognized, whereas pollen from almost all other species failed to hydrate. Genetic analysis of A. thaliana has identified three genes that are essential for this recognition process. Recessive mutations in any of these genes result in male sterility due to the production of pollen grains that fail to hydrate when placed on the stigma, but that are capable of hydrating and growing a pollen tube in vitro. Results from mixed pollination experiments suggest that the mutant pollen grains specifically lack a functional pollen-stigma recognition system. All three mutations described also result in a defect in the wax layer normally found on stems and leaves, similar to previously described eceriferum (cer) mutations. Genetic complementation and mapping experiments demonstrated that the newly identified mutants are allelic to the previously identified genes cer1, cer3 and cer6. TEM analysis of the ultrastructure of the pollen coating revealed that all of the mutant pollen grains bear coatings of normal thickness and that tryphine lipid droplets are missing in cer1-147, are reduced in size in cer6-2654 and appear normal in cer3-2186.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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