Gametophytic Gene Expression

  • Joseph P. Mascarenhas


The male gametophyte of flowering plants is a microscopic structure which during its early development is enclosed within the sporophyte tissue in the anther of a flower bud. Dramatic advances have been made recently in our understanding of gene expression in the different tissues of the anther including the tapetum (Koltunow et al, 1990: Mariani et al, 1990). Following meiosis there is a long interphase period during which the microspores enlarge greatly in size. Microspore mitosis results in an unequal partitioning of cytoplasm into the vegetative and generative cells. Following anthesis the pollen grain is deposited on the stigma of the pistil where it begins another phase of its development by germinating and extruding a tube within which the sperm cells are transported to the embryo sac. In many species studied the pollen grain at maturity contains all the proteins that are required for germination and early tube growth, since protein synthesis inhibitors do not block these events. Moreover a large number of enzymes have been reported to be present in pollen grains of various species (Mascarenhas, 1975). Protein synthesis begins early in pollen germination. Most of the studies in the literature indicate that the mature pollen grain contains a store of stable mRNAs that are translated early during germination and that play a greater or lesser role in pollen germination and tube growth depending on the plant species (reviewed in Mascarenhas, 1975, 1990a,b).


Pollen Development Pollen Germination Male Gametophyte Kentucky Bluegrass Male Gametophyte Development 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature references

  1. Albani D, Robert LS, Donaldson PA, Altosaar I, Arnison PG, Fabijanski SF (1990) Characterization of a pollen-specific gene family from Brassica napus which is activated during early microspore development. Plant Mol Biol 15: 605–622PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aziz N, Munro HN (1987) Iron regulates ferritin mRNA translation through a segment of its 5’ untranslated region. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 84: 8478–8482PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Breiteneder H, Pettenburger K, Bito A, Valenta R, Kraft D, Rumpold H, Scheiner O, Breitenbach M (1989) The gene coding for the major birch pollen allergen Betvl, is highly homologous to a pea disease resistance response gene. EMBO J 8: 1935–1938PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Brown Sm, Crouch ML (1990) Characterization of a gene family abundantly expressed in Oenothera organensis pollen that shows sequence similarity to polygalacturonase. Plant Cell 2: 263–274PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Guerrero FD, Crossland L, Smutzer GS, Hamilton DA, Mascarenhas JP (1990) A maize pollen-specific promoter directs tissue-specific transcription in tobacco. Mol Gen Genet 224: 161–168PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hamilton DA, Bashe DM, Stinson JR, Mascarenhas JP. 1989. Characterization of a pollen-specific genomic clone from maize. Sex. Plant Reprod. 2, 208–212.Google Scholar
  7. Hamilton DA, Roy M, Rueda J, Sindhu RK, Sanford J, Mascarenhas JP (1992) Dissection of a pollen-specific promoter from maize by transient transformation assays. Plant Mol Biol 18: 211–218PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hentze MW, Caughman SW, Rouault TA, Barriocanal JG, Dancis A, Harford JB, Klausner RD (1987) Identification of the iron-responsive element for the translational regulation of human ferritin mRNA. Science 238: 1570–1573PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Koltunow AM, Truettner J, Cox KH, Wallroth M, Goldberg RB (1991) Different temporal and spatial gene expression patterns occur during anther development. Plant Cell 2: 1201–1224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Mariani C, De Beuckeler M, Truettner J, Leemans J, Goldberg RB (1990) Induction of male sterility in plants by a chimeric ribonuclease gene. Nature 347: 737–741CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Mascarenhas JP (1975) The biochemistry of angiosperm pollen development. Bot Rev 41: 259–314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Mascarenhas JP (1990a) Gene activity during pollen development. Ann Rev Plant Physiol Plant Mol Biol. 41: 317–338CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Mascarenhas Jp (1990b) The male gametophyte of flowering plants. Plant Cell 1: 657–664CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Mohapatra S, Hill R, Astwood J, Ekramoddoulah AKM, Olson E, Silvanovich A, Hatton T, Kisil FT, Sehon A (1990) Isolation and characterization of a cDNA clone encoding an IgE-binding protein from Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) pollen. Int Arch Allergy Appl Immunol 91: 362–368Google Scholar
  15. Rafner T, Griffith IJ, Kuo MC, Bond JF, Rogers BL, Klapper DG (1991) Cloning of Amb aI (antigen E), the major allergen family of short ragweed pollen. J Biol Chem 206: 1229–1236Google Scholar
  16. Roberts MR, Robson F, Foster GD, Draper J, Scott RJ (1991) A Brassica napus mRNA expressed in developing microspores. Plant Mol Biol 17: 295–299PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Scott R, Dagless E, Hodge R, Paul W, Soufleri L, Draper J (1991) Patterns of gene expression in developing anthers of Brassica napus. Plant Mol Biol 17: 195–207PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Silvanovich A, Astwood J, Zhang L, Olson E, Kisil F, Sehon A, Mohapatra S, Hill R (1991) Nucleotide sequence analysis of three cDNAs coding for Poa p IX isoallergens of Kentucky bluegrass pollen. J Biol Chem 266: 1204–1210PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Singh MB, Hough T, Theerakulpisut P, Avjioglu A, Davies S, Smith PM, Taylor P, Simpson RJ, Ward LD, McCluskey J, Puy R, Knox RB (1991) Isolation of cDNA encoding a newly identified major allergenic protein of rye-grass pollen: intracellular targetting to the amyloplast. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 88: 1384–1388PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Stinson JR, Eisenberg AJ, Willing RP, Pe ME, Hanson DD, Mascarenhas JP (1987) Genes expressed in the male gametophyte of flowering plants and their isolation. Plant Physiol 83: 442–447PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Thiel EC (1987) Ferritin: structure, gene regulation, and cellular function in animals, plants, and microorganisms. Ann Rev Biochem 56: 289–315CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Twell D, Wing R, Yamaguchi J, mcCormick S (1989) Isolation and expression of an anther-specific gene from tomato. Mol Gen Genet 247: 240–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ursin VM, Yamaguchi J, McCormick S (1989) Gametophytic and sporophytic expression of anther specific genes in developing tomato anthers. Plant cell 1: 727–736PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Valenta R, Duchene M, Pettenburger K, Sillaber C, Valent P, bettelheim P, Breitenbach M, Rumpold H, Kraft D, Scheiner O (1991) Identification of profilin as a novel pollen allergen; IgE autoreactivity in sensitized individuals. Science 253: 557–560Google Scholar
  25. Willing Rp, Bashe D, Mascarenhas Jp (1988) An analysis of the quantity and diversity of messenger RNAs from pollen and shoots of Zea mays. Theoret Appl Genet 75: 751–753CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Willing Rp, Mascarenhas JP (1984) Analysis of the complexity and diversity of mRNAs from pollen and shoots of Tradescantia. Plant Physiol 75: 865–868PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph P. Mascarenhas
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological Sciences and Center for Molecular GeneticsState University of New York at AlbanyAlbanyUSA

Personalised recommendations