Brassica napus Rop GTPases and their expression in microspore cultures

Planta. 2007 Jan;225(2):469-84. doi: 10.1007/s00425-006-0362-5. Epub 2006 Aug 9.


Androgenesis in plants involves a shift in development that causes cultured microspore cells to form embryos rather than continue to develop pollen. In Brassica napus microspore culture a mild heat stress is used to switch on embryo development. An early hallmark of embryogenesis in this system is a symmetrical division of the nucleus instead of the asymmetric division that occurs during pollen formation. ROP GTPases act as molecular switches in a variety of developmental processes; therefore, the current study was initiated to examine whether they might be involved in androgenesis. Five distinct Rop genes with nucleic acid similarities ranging from 82 to 93% to Arabidopsis Rop1 were isolated from B. napus cv Topas. A Southern blot hybridization with a BnRop sequence probe suggested that there are 11-15 ROP gene family members in B. napus. RT-PCR reactions with PCR primers specific to BnRop5, BnRop6, BnRop9 and BnRop10 showed that expression of the BnRop5 was restricted to pollen but the others were detected in leaf, root, stem and pollen tissue. Pollen-like cells obtained from 3-day-old cultures by flow cytometric sorting had BnRop5 transcript levels that were 2.8 times higher than in flow sorted embryogenic microspores. Conversely, the BnRop9 transcript levels were 2.5-fold higher in the embryogenic cells than in the pollen-like cells. The potential involvement of specific ROPs in early stage microspore culture responses is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • Brassica napus / cytology*
  • Brassica napus / enzymology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*


  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins