Plant Reproduction

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 185–195 | Cite as

Arabidopsis thaliana MLO genes are expressed in discrete domains during reproductive development

  • Thomas C. Davis
  • Daniel S. Jones
  • Arianna J. Dino
  • Nicholas I. Cejda
  • Jing Yuan
  • Andrew C. Willoughby
  • Sharon A. KesslerEmail author
Original Article

Key message

MLOs in Plant Reproduction.


The MILDEW RESISTANCE LOCUS-O (MLO) protein family, comprised of 15 members, plays roles in diverse cell–cell communication processes such as powdery mildew susceptibility, root thigmomorphogenesis, and pollen tube reception. The NORTIA (NTA, AtMLO7) gene is expressed in the synergid cells of the female gametophyte where it functions in intercellular communication with the pollen tube. Discrepancies between previously published promoter::GUS and promoter::gene-GUS constructs expression patterns led us to explore the regulation of NTA expression. Here we found via NTApro::gNTA-GUS truncations that sequences within the NTA gene negatively regulate its expression in the stomata and carpel walls. This led to the hypothesis that other MLO family members may also have additional regulatory sequences within the gene. MLOpro::gMLO-GUS constructs were examined for each family member focusing specifically on flowers in order to determine whether other MLOs could play a role in reproductive cell–cell communication. Notably, several MLOs were expressed in the pollen, in the stigma, in the pollinated style, and in the synergids and central cell. These findings indicate that other MLOs in addition to NTA could play a role in reproduction. Previous studies on the MLO family showed that phylogenetically related MLOs had redundant functions in powdery mildew infection and root thigmomorphogenesis; however, MLO expression in reproductive tissues did not strictly follow phylogenetic relationships, indicating that MLOs from different evolutionary origins may have been recruited for function in sexual reproduction.


MLO Flower development Reproduction NORTIA Pollination Signaling 



We thank Patrick Day and Noel Lucca for technical assistance. This work was supported by University of Oklahoma start-up funds to S.A.K. and the National Science Foundation (Grant IOS-1733865).

Supplementary material

497_2017_313_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.3 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 1342 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Botany and Plant PathologyPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.Purdue Center for Plant BiologyPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  3. 3.Department of Microbiology and Plant BiologyThe University of OklahomaNormanUSA

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