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Pollen wall development in Impatiens glandulifera: exine substructure and underlying mechanisms

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The aim of this study was to investigate in detail the pollen wall ontogeny in Impatiens glandulifera, with emphasis on the substructure and the underlying mechanisms of development. Sporopollenin-containing pollen wall, the exine, consists of two parts, ectexine and endexine. By determining the sequence of developing substructures with TEM, we have in mind to understand in which way the exine substructure is connected with function. We have shown earlier that physical processes of self-assembly and phase separation are universally involved in ectexine development; currently, we try to clear up whether these processes participate in endexine development. The data received were compared with those on other species. The ectexine ontogeny of I. glandulifera followed the main stages observed in many other species, including the late tetrad stage named “Golden gates”. It turned out that the same physico-chemical processes act in endexine development, especially expressed in aperture sites. Another peculiar phenomenon observed in exine development was the recurrency of micellar sequence at near-aperture and aperture sites where the periplasmic space is widened. It should be noted that, in the whole, the developmental substructures observed during the tetrad and early post-tetrad period are similar in species with columellate exines. Evidently, these basic physical processes proceed, reiterating again and again in different species, resulting in an enormous variety of exine structures on the base of a relatively modest number of genes. Granular and alveolar exines emerge on the base of the same basic processes but are arrested at spherical and cylindrical micelle mesophases correspondingly.

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This work was carried out in the framework of the institutional research project of the Komarov Botanical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences ‘Pollen and spores of living and fossil plants: morphology and development’ no. AAAA-A19-119080790048-7 on the equipment of the Core Facility “Cellular and Molecular Technologies in Plant Science” of the Komarov Botanical Institute (St. Petersburg).


Institutional research project of the Komarov Botanical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

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VVG: collecting and fixation of C. miralis material and preparing of ultrathin sections, fixations and embedding of models’ samples and preparing ultrathin sections, staining of all sections; DAB: taking TEM pictures; NIG: the principal analysis and writing the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Nina I. Gabarayeva.

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Gabarayeva, N.I., Britski, D.A. & Grigorjeva, V.V. Pollen wall development in Impatiens glandulifera: exine substructure and underlying mechanisms. Protoplasma 261, 111–124 (2024).

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