Pre and Post Anthesis Gene Expression in Maize Pollen
The male gametophytic generation of higher plants can be divided into two distinct phases: 1) pollen formation (microsporogenesis), which takes place within the anther, and 2) pollen function, which begins with the deposition of the grains on the stigma surface and ends with fertilization. Anthesis marks the transition from phase 1 to 2. Microsporogenesis is clearly the more complex of the two phases in terms of development and functions: between the end of meiosis and anther dehiscence the microspore undergoes profound changes which include 1 or 2 mitotic divisions and the synthesis of the cell wall. Pollen function is simpler: apparently all the grain has to do is to put out a tube which grows through the stylar tissues in order to reach the embryo sac and discharge the sperm cells. During both phases pollen is in intimate contact with a sporophytic tissue (the tapetal cells and the style in phases 1 and 2 respectively) and its correct functioning is very dependent on interactions with them. Considered in toto the male gametophytic phase presents a series of differentiation steps: meiosis, mitosis, tube growth. Yet developmentally it is a very simple system as compared with the sporophyte and hence offers unique opportunities to study developmental regulation of gene expression and the functional interactions with quite different tissues. With regard to the first point a large body of evidence shows that post meiotic gene expression is quantitatively considerable.
KeywordsPollen Tube Pollen Function Tapetal Cell Pollen Formation Maize Pollen
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