Role of Lipid Metabolism in Plant Pollen Exine Development

Part of the Subcellular Biochemistry book series (SCBI, volume 86)


Pollen plays important roles in the life cycle of angiosperms plants. It acts as not only a biological protector of male sperms but also a communicator between the male and the female reproductive organs, facilitating pollination and fertilization. Pollen is produced within the anther, and covered by the specialized outer envelope, pollen wall. Although the morphology of pollen varies among different plant species, the pollen wall is mainly comprised of three layers: the pollen coat, the outer exine layer, and the inner intine layer. Except the intine layer, the other two layers are basically of lipidic nature. Particularly, the outer pollen wall layer, the exine, is a highly resistant biopolymer of phenylpropanoid and lipidic monomers covalently coupled by ether and ester linkages. The precise molecular mechanisms underlying pollen coat formation and exine patterning remain largely elusive. Herein, we summarize the current genetic, phenotypic and biochemical studies regarding to the pollen exine development and underlying molecular regulatory mechanisms mainly obtained from monocot rice (Oryza sativa) and dicot Arabidopsis thaliana, aiming to extend our understandings of plant male reproductive biology. Genes, enzymes/proteins and regulatory factors that appear to play conserved and diversified roles in lipid biosynthesis, transportation and modification during pollen exine formation, were highlighted.


ABC transporter Exine Lipid transport protein Sporopollenin Tapetum 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Life Sciences and BiotechnologyShanghai Jiao Tong University–University of Adelaide Joint Centre for Agriculture and Health, Shanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina

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