Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Microspore-derived embryos in Brassica: the significance of division symmetry in pollen mitosis I to embryogenic development

  • 269 Accesses

  • 64 Citations


An attempt has been made to manipulate the cytological processes regulating the switch from gametophytic to sporophytic development induced by culturing the microspores of higher plants. Previous studies have indicated that sporophytic development, which leads to the formation of haploid embryos, normally follows the symmetrical division of the microspore rather than the asymmetric mitosis characteristic of normal development. To determine whether symmetry of division is a key factor in the determination of subsequent development, cells were supplied with the antimicrotubule drug colchicine to disrupt elements of the microtubular cytoskeleton believed to be involved in nuclear positioning. The treatment resulted in a highly significant increase in the numbers of cells turning to sporophytic development; further, timed applications indicated that the cells were sensitive to the drug over a 12-h period immediately prior to pollen mitosis. The results suggest that alteration of division symmetry is sufficient to switch the developmental pathway from gametophytic to sporophytic. These findings are discussed in the perspective of current models proposed for the regulation of development in eukaryotic cells.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Bennett MB, Hughes WG (1972) Additional mitosis of wheat pollen induced by ethrel. Nature 240:566–568

  2. Charne DG, Beversdorf WD (1988) Improving microspore culture as a rapeseed breeding tool: the use of auxins and cytokinins in induction medium. Can J Bot 66:1671–1675

  3. Dickinson HG, Heslop-Harrison J (1971) The mode of growth of the inner layer of the pollen grain exine in Lilium. Cytobios 4:233–243

  4. Dickinson HG, Sheldon J (1984) A radial system of microtubules extending between the nuclear envelope and the plasma membrane during early male haplophase in flowering plants. Planta 161:86–90

  5. Dunwell JM, Sunderland N (1975) Pollen ultrastructure in anther cultures of Nicotiana tabacum: III. The first sporophytic division. J Exp Bot 26:240–252

  6. Dunwell JM, Sunderland N (1976) Pollen ultrastructure in anther cultures of Datura innoxia. I. Division of the presumptive vegetative cell. J Cell Sci 22:469–480

  7. Fan Z, Armstrong KC, Keller WA (1988) Development of microspores in vivo and in vitro in Brassica napus L. Protoplasma 147:191–199

  8. Foroughi-Wehr B, Friedt W (1984) Rapid production of recombinant barley yellow mosaic virus resistant Hordeum vulgare lines by anther culture. Theor Appl Genet 67:377–382

  9. Fransz PF, Ruijter NCA, Schel JHN (1989) Isozymes as biochemical and cytochemical markers in embryogenic callus cultures of maize. Plant Cell Rep 8:67–70

  10. Guha S, Maheshwari SC (1964) In vitro production of embryos from anthers of Datura. Nature 204:497

  11. Hart J, Sabnis D (1976) Colchicine and plant microtubules: a critical evaluation. Curr Adv Plant Sci 26:1095–1104

  12. Horner M, Pratt ML (1979) Amino acid analysis of in vivo and embryogenic anthers of Nicotiana tabacum. Protoplasma 98:279–282

  13. Hu H, Huang B (1987) Application of pollen-derived plants to crop improvement. Int Rev Cyt 107:293–311

  14. Katsuta J, Shibaoka H (1988) The roles of the cytoskeleton and the cell wall in nuclear positioning in tobacco BY-2 cells. Plant Cell Physiol 29:403–413

  15. Katsuta J, Hashiguchi Y, Shibaoka H (1990) The role of the cytoskeleton in positioning of the nucleus in premitotic tobacco BY-2 cells. J Cell Sci 95:413–422

  16. Lichter R (1985) From microspores to rape plants: a tentative way to low glucosinolate strains. In: Sorensen H (ed) Cruciferous crops: production, utilisation, description, vol II. Nijhoff/Junk, Dordrecht Boston Lancaster, pp 268–277

  17. Mineyuki Y, Furuya M (1986) Involvement of colchicine-sensitive cytoplasmic elements in premitotic nuclear positioning of Adiantum protonemata. Protoplasma 130:83–90

  18. Nitsch C (1977) Culture of isolated microspores. In: Reinert J, Bajaj YPS (eds) Plant cell, tissue and organ culture. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 268–278

  19. Pechan PM, Keller WA (1988) Identification of potentially embryogenic microspores in Brassica napus. Physiol Plant 74:377–384

  20. Raghavan V (1977) Patterns of DNA synthesis during pollen embryogenesis in Henbane. J Cell Biol 73:521–526

  21. Raghavan V (1984) Protein synthetic activity during pollen development and during induced pollen embryogenesis in Hyoscyamus niger. Can J Bot 62:2493–2513

  22. Reynolds TL (1984) An ultrastructural and stereological analysis of pollen grains of Hyoscyamus niger during normal ontogeny and induced embryogenic development. Am J Bot 71:490–504

  23. Sax K (1937) Effect of variations in temperature on nuclear and division in Tradescantia. Am J Bot 24:218–225

  24. Sheldon JM, Dickinson HG (1986) Pollen wall formation in Lilium: the effect of chaotropic agents, and the organisation of the microtubular cytoskeleton during pattern development. Planta 168:11–23

  25. Sheldon JM, Willson CE, Dickinson HG (1988) Interaction between the nucleus and cytoskeleton during the pairing stages of male meiosis in flowering plants. Paper presented at the Kew Chromosome Conference III. HMSO London, pp 27–35

  26. Sunderland N, Dunwell JM (1974) Pathways in pollen embryogenesis. In: HE Street (ed) Tissue culture and plant science. Academic Press, London, pp 141–167

  27. Tanaka I, Ito M (1981) Control of division in explanted microspores of Tulipa gesneriana. Protoplasma 108:329–340

  28. Tiwari SC (1989) Cytoskeleton during pollen development in Tradescantia virginiana: a study employing chemical fixation, freeze-substitution, immunofluorescence, and colchicine administration. Can J Bot 67:1244–1253

  29. Traas JA, Doonan JH, Rawlins DJ, Shaw PJ, Watts J, Lloyd CW (1987) An actin network is present in the cytoplasm throughout the cell cycle of carrot cells and associates with the dividing nucleus. J Cell Biol 105:387–395

  30. Venverloo CJ, Libbenga KR (1987) Regulation of the plane of cell division in vacuolated cells: I. The function of nuclear positioning and phragmosome formation. J Plant Physiol 131:267–284

  31. Zaki M, Dickinson HG (1990) Structural changes during the first divisions of embryos resulting from anther and microspore culture in Brassica napus. Protoplasma 156:149–162

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to H. G. Dickinson.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Zaki, M.A.M., Dickinson, H.G. Microspore-derived embryos in Brassica: the significance of division symmetry in pollen mitosis I to embryogenic development. Sexual Plant Reprod 4, 48–55 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00194572

Download citation

Key words

  • Brassica napus
  • Colchicine
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Microspore-embryogenesis
  • Pollen