Gemini pollen 2, a male and female gametophytic cytokinesis defective mutation
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Gametophytic cytokinesis is essential for the development and function of the male and female gametophytes. We have previously described the isolation and characterisation of gemini pollen 1 (gem1) that acts gametophytically to disturb asymmetric division and cytokinesis at pollen mitosis I (PMI) in Arabidopsis. Here we describe the genetic and cytological analysis of an independent gametophytic mutant, gem2, with similar characteristics to gem1, but which maps to a different genetic locus. gem2 shows reduced genetic transmission through both male and female gametes and leads to the production of divided or twin-celled pollen. Developmental analysis revealed that gem2 does not affect karyokinesis at PMI, but leads to repositioning of the cell plate, and partial or complete failure of cytokinesis, resulting in symmetrical divisions or binucleate pollen grains, respectively. Symmetrical divisions lead to altered pollen cell fate with both sister cells displaying vegetative cell fate. Moreover, we demonstrate that the predominant female defect in gem2 is a lack of cellularisation of the embryo sac during megagametogenesis. GEM2 therefore defines an independent genetic locus that is involved in the correct specification of both male and female gametophytic cytokinesis.