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Comparative exine development from the post-tetrad stage in the early-divergent lineages of Ranunculales: the genera Euptelea and Pteridophyllum

Abstract

Studies of pollen wall development produce a great deal of morphological data that supplies useful information regarding taxonomy and systematics. We present the exine development of Euptelea and Pteridophyllum, two taxa whose pollen wall development has never previously been studied using transmission electron microscopy. Both genera are representatives of the two earliest-diverging families of the order Ranunculales and their pollen data are important for the diagnosis of the ancestral pollen features in eudicots. Our observations show these genera are defined by having microechinate microreticulate exine ornamentation, perforate tectum, columellate morphology of the infratectum and the existence of a foot layer and endexine. The presence of lamellations is detected during the early stages of development in the nexine of both genera, especially in the apertures. Euptelea presents remains of the primexine layer during the whole maturation process, a very thin foot layer, and a laminate exinous oncus in the apertural region formed by ectexine and endexine elements. Pteridophyllum has a thicker tectum than Euptelea, a continuous foot layer and a thicker endexine. In the apertures, the exinous oncus is formed by islets and granules of endexine, in contrast to the Euptelea apertures. The secretory tapetum produces orbicules in both genera, but they have different morphology and electron-density. Comparisons with pollen data from related orders and families confirm the ancestral states for the pollen of eudicots proposed in previous studies: reticulate and echinate surfaces, columellate infractectum and a thin foot layer relative to the thickness of the ectexine. According to our observations, we propose considering the possibility of a polymorphic state for the aperture number in the ancestor of Ranunculales, and suggest the development of orbicules as the ancestral state in this order.

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Acknowledgments

This work was funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (CGL2008-01554/BOS) and by the Andalusian Regional Ministry of Economy, Innovation and Science (P12.RNM2680). We thank the staff of the National Botanic Garden of Belgium and of the Gothenburg Botanical Garden for their support and help for sampling the pollen material, and to Concepción Hernández Castillo, María José Martínez Guerrero and Isabel Sánchez Almazo of the Scientific Instrumentation Centre of the University of Granada for preparing our samples for TEM and SEM visualisation. The authors also thank Dr. James Doyle for his helpful comments on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Miguel A. Pérez-Gutiérrez.

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Pérez-Gutiérrez, M.A., Fernández, M., Salinas-Bonillo, M.J. et al. Comparative exine development from the post-tetrad stage in the early-divergent lineages of Ranunculales: the genera Euptelea and Pteridophyllum . J Plant Res 129, 1085–1096 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10265-016-0862-8

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Keywords

  • Euptelea
  • Exine development
  • Pollen evolution
  • Pteridophyllum
  • Ranunculales