Changes in apoptosis-like programmed cell death and viability during the cryopreservation of pollen from Paeonia suffruticosa

  • Ruifen Ren
  • Zedi Li
  • Hao Zhou
  • Lingling Zhang
  • Xueru Jiang
  • Yan LiuEmail author
Original Article


Pollen after cryopreservation has a variety of change trends in viability, with most pollens showing decreased viability. The role of apoptosis-like programmed cell death (AL-PCD) in changing viability is not exactly clear. AL-PCD is an important biological activity of cells that plays a key role in the normal development of plants, maintenance of homeostasis and resistance to interference from various environmental factors. However, a relationship between the diverse changes in pollen viability after liquid nitrogen (LN) preservation and AL-PCD has rarely been reported. The results of this study show that after cryopreservation, the viability of pollen from six cultivars of Paeonia suffruticosa presents different changes, and the occurrence of AL-PCD in pollen of these six cultivars varies. When the viability of the cultivars was significantly higher than that of fresh pollen or the viability showed no significant difference from that of fresh pollen, intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation was not significantly changed and the activity of the caspase-3-like enzyme was relatively low. When the viability of the cultivars after cryopreservation was significantly lower than that of fresh pollen, ROS generation significantly increased and the caspase-3-like enzymatic activity was higher than the control level. The pollen apoptosis rate increased for all three viability change types, and correlation analysis results demonstrated a significant negative correlation between the apoptosis rate and pollen viability (P < 0.05). However, the DNA fragmentation of AL-PCD late indicators was not characterized in the pollen of these six cultivars. Based on these findings, we concluded that AL-PCD occurs during pollen cryopreservation and is related to the differences in pollen viability after cryopreservation.

Key Message

After cryopreservation, six cultivars of P. suffruticosa pollen has a different change trends in viability, and the difference of pollen viability is related to apoptosis-like programmed cell death.


Pollen Cryopreservation Viability Apoptosis-like programmed cell death Reactive oxygen species 



This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 31370693 and 31770741).

Author contributions

RR designed the research, analyzed the data and drafted the manuscript. ZL designed the research and completed the experiment. And in which RR and ZL contributed equally to this work. LZ and HZ offered some help on material collection. XJ offered some help on the research designed. YL conceived the project, supervised the analysis and critically revised the manuscript. All authors read and approved the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

11240_2019_1732_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (57 kb)
Supplementary file1 (XLSX 56 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Beijing Laboratory of Urban and Rural Ecological Environment, Beijing Municipal Education Commission, Beijing Key Laboratory of Ornamental Plants Germplasm Innovation & Molecular Breeding, National Engineering Research Center for Floriculture, College of Landscape ArchitectureBeijing Forestry UniversityBeijingChina

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