, Volume 185, Issue 1–2, pp 7–21 | Cite as

Ultrastructure of microsporogenesis and microgametogenesis inArabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. ecotype Wassilewskija (Brassicaceae)

  • Heather A. Owen
  • C. A. Makaroff


The process of microsporogenesis and microgametogenesis was studied at the ultrastructural level in wild-typeArabidopsis thaliana ecotype Wassilewskija to provide a basis for comparison with nuclear male-sterile mutants of the same ecotype. From the earliest stage studied to mature pollen just prior to anther dehiscence, microsporocyte/microspore/pollen development follows the general pattern seen in most angiosperms. The tapetum is of the secretory type with loss of the tapetal cell walls beginning at about the time of microsporocyte meiosis. Wall loss exhibits polarity with the tapetal protoplasts becoming located at a distance from the inner tangential walls first, followed by an increase in distance from the radial walls beginning at the interior edge and progressing outward. The inner tangential and radial tapetal walls are completely degenerated by the microspore tetrad stage. Unlike other members of the Brassicaceae that have been studied, the tapetal cells ofA. thaliana Wassilewskija also lose their outer tangential walls, and secretion occurs from all sides of the cells. Exine wall precursors are secreted from the tapetal cells in a process that appears to involve dilation of individual endoplasmic reticulum cisternae that fuse with the tapetal cell membrane and release their contents into the locule. Following completion of the exine, the tapetal cell plastids develop membranebound inclusions with osmiophilic and electron-transparent regions. The plastids undergo ultrastructural changes that suggest breakdown of the inclusion membranes followed by release of their contents into the locule prior to the complete degeneration of the tapetal cells.


Arabidopsis thaliana Microgametogenesis Microsporogenesis Pollen development Tapetal cells Ultrastructure 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heather A. Owen
    • 1
  • C. A. Makaroff
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryMiami UniversityOxfordUSA

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