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Planta. 1998 Aug;205(4):492-505.

Genetic control of male fertility in Arabidopsis thaliana: structural analyses of postmeiotic developmental mutants.

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School of Botany, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.


Seven new male-sterile mutants (ms7-ms13) of Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. (ecotype columbia) are described that show a postmeiotic defect of microspore development. In ms9 mutants, microspores recently released from the tetrad appear irregular in shape and are often without exines. The earliest evidence of abnormality in ms12 mutants is degeneration of microspores that lack normal exine sculpturing, suggesting that the MS12 product is important in the formation of pollen exine. Teratomes (abnormally enlarged microsporocytes) are also occasionally present and each has a poorly developed exine. In ms7 mutant plants, the tapetal cytoplasm disintegrates at the late vacuolate microspore stage, apparently causing the degeneration of microspores and pollen grains. With ms8 mutants, the exine of the microspores appears similar to that of the wild type. However, intine development appears impaired and pollen grains rupture prior to maturity. In ms11 mutants, the first detectable abnormality appears at the mid to late vacuolate stage. The absence of fluorescence in the microspores and tapetal cells after staining with 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) and the occasional presence of teratomes indicate degradation of DNA. Viable pollen from ms10 mutant plants is dehisced from anthers but appears to have surface abnormalities affecting interaction with the stigma. Pollen only germinates in high-humidity conditions or during in-vitro germination experiments. Mutant plants also have bright-green stems, suggesting that ms10 belongs to the eceriferum (cer) class of mutants. However, ms10 and cer6 are non-allelic. The ms13 mutant has a similar phenotype to ms10, suggesting is also an eceriferum mutation. Each of these seven mutants had a greater number of flowers than congenic male-fertile plants. The non-allelic nature of these mutants and their different developmental end-points indicate that seven different genes important for the later stages of pollen development have been identified.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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