Anther developmental defects in Arabidopsis thaliana male-sterile mutants
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We identified Arabidopsis thaliana sterility mutants by screening T-DNA and EMS-mutagenized lines and characterized several male-sterile mutants with defects specific for different anther processes. Approximately 44 and 855 sterile mutants were uncovered from the T-DNA and EMS screens, respectively. Several mutants were studied in detail with defects that included the establishment of anther morphology, microspore production, pollen differentiation, and anther dehiscence. Both non-dehiscencing and late-dehiscencing mutants were identified. In addition, pollenless mutants were observed with either apparent meiotic defects and/or abnormalities in cell layers surrounding the locules. Two mutant alleles were identified for the POLLENLESS3 locus which have defects in functional microspore production that lead to the degeneration of cells within the anther locules. pollenless3–1 contains a T-DNA insertion that co-segregates with the mutant phenotype and pollenless3–2 has a large deletion in the POLLENLESS3 gene. The POLLENLESS3 gene has no known counterparts in the GenBank, but encodes a protein containing putative nuclear localization and protein-protein interaction motifs. The POLLENLESS3 gene was shown recently to be the same as MS5, a previously described Arabidopsisthaliana male-sterility mutant. Three genes were identified in the POLLENLESS3 genomic region: GENEY, POLLENLESS3, and β9-TUBULIN. The segment of the Arabidopsisthaliana genome containing the POLLENLESS3 and β9-TUBULIN genes is duplicated and present on a different chromosome. Analysis of the POLLENLESS3 expression pattern determined that the 1.3-kb POLLENLESS3 mRNA is localized specifically within meiotic cells in the anther locules and that POLLENLESS3 mRNA is present only during late meiosis.
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