The selective increase or decrease of organellar DNA in generative cells just after pollen mitosis one controls cytoplasmic inheritance

Planta. 1999 Jul;209(1):53-65. doi: 10.1007/s004250050606.


Organellar DNA in mature pollen grains of eight angiosperm species (Actinidia deliciosa Lindl., Antirrhinum majus L., Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh., Medicago sativa L., Musa acuminata Colla, Pelargonium zonale (L.) L'Hér, Petunia hybrida Vilm. and Rhododendron mucronatum (Blume) G. Don, in which the modes of organellar inheritance have been determined genetically, was observed by fluorescence microscopy using Technovit 7100 resin sections double-stained with 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) and 3,3'-dihexyloxacarbocyanine iodide (DiOC(6)). The eight species were classified into four types, based on the presence or absence of organellar DNA in mature generative cells: namely (1) type "m+p+", which has both mitochondrial and plastid DNA (P. zonale), (2) type "m+p-", which only has mitochondrial DNA (M. acuminata), (3) type "m-p+", which only has plastid DNA (A. deliciosa, M. sativa, R. mucronatum), and (4) type "m-p-", which has neither mitochondrial nor plastid DNA (A. majus, A. thaliana, P. hybrida). This classification corresponded to the mode of organellar inheritance determined by genetic analysis. The presence or absence of mitochondrial and plastid DNA corresponded to paternal/biparental inheritance or maternal inheritance of the respective organelle, respectively. When organellar DNA was present in mature generative cells (m+ or p+), the DNA content of the organelles in the generative cells started to increase immediately after pollen mitosis one (PMI). In contrast, the DNA content of organelles in generative cells decreased rapidly after PMI when organellar DNA was absent from mature generative cells (m- or p-). These results indicate that the modes of inheritance (paternal/biparental inheritance or maternal inheritance) of mitochondria and plastids are determined independently of each other in young generative cells just after PMI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cytoplasm
  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • DNA, Plant*
  • Extrachromosomal Inheritance
  • Mitosis*
  • Organelles / genetics*
  • Plants / classification
  • Plants / genetics
  • Pollen / genetics*
  • Pollen / growth & development


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • DNA, Plant