Sexual Plant Reproduction

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 143–152 | Cite as

Distinct expression of members of the LHT amino acid transporter family in flowers indicates specific roles in plant reproduction

Original Article


Sexual plant reproduction necessitates proper development of pollen, pollen germination and tube growth through various tissues of the pistil, the female organ of the flower. Finally, sperm cells are released to fertilize the female gametophyte. These processes require high metabolic activities of all tissues involved and rely on the delivery of nitrogen assimilates for success. However, transporters mediating nitrogen fluxes are mostly unknown. The presented work provides an expression analysis of members of the LHT amino acid transporter family in relation to pollen development and pollen–pistil interaction. Expression of ArabidopsisLHTs was analyzed during flower development and the location of LHT function resolved by transporter-GFP and promoter-GUS studies. GFP-LHT localization in onion cells indicates that all LHTs analyzed are targeted to the plasma membrane. We further showed that LHTs are expressed in anthers and male gametophytes where they are proposed to function in transport of amino acids for pollen development and maturation. Expression in germinating pollen, pollen tubes and transmitting tissue of the pistil points to a role of LHTs in support of the fertilization process. Overall, our study suggests that LHT function in flowers is cell or tissue specific, developmentally regulated and highly coordinated between male and female tissue.


Amino acid Arabidopsis thaliana Development Plant reproduction Transporter 



This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (grant IBN 0135344 to M.T.).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Justin Foster
    • 1
  • Yong-Hwa Lee
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mechthild Tegeder
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Integrated Biotechnology, Centre for Reproductive Biology, School of Biological Sciences Washington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  2. 2.Plant Genome Research CenterKorea Research Institute of Bioscience and BiotechnologyDaejeonRepublic of Korea

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