Precocious pollen germination in Arabidopsis plants with altered callose deposition during microsporogenesis

Planta. 2010 Mar;231(4):809-23. doi: 10.1007/s00425-009-1091-3. Epub 2009 Dec 29.


Pollination is essential for seed reproduction and for exchanges of genetic information between individual plants. In angiosperms, mature pollen grains released from dehisced anthers are transferred to the stigma where they become hydrated and begin to germinate. Pollen grains of wild-type Arabidopsis thaliana do not germinate inside the anther under normal growth conditions. We report two Arabidopsis lines that produced pollen grains able to in situ precociously germinate inside the anther. One of them was a callose synthase 9 (cs9) knockout mutant with a T-DNA insertion in the Callose Synthase 9 gene (CalS9). Male gametophytes carrying a cs9 mutant allele were defective and no homozygous progeny could be produced. Heterozygous mutant plants (cs9/+) produced approximately 50% defective pollen grains with an altered male germ unit (MGU) and aberrant callose deposition in bicellular pollen. Bicellular pollen grains germinated precociously inside the anther. Another line, a transgenic plant expressing callose synthase 5 (CalS5) under the CaMV 35S promoter, also contained abnormal callose deposition during microsporogenesis and displaced MGUs in pollen grains. We also observed that precocious pollen germination could be induced in wild-type plants by incubation with medium containing sucrose and calcium ion and by wounding in the anther. These results demonstrate that precocious pollen germination in Arabidopsis could be triggered by a genetic alteration and a physiological condition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Arabidopsis / ultrastructure
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Flowers / genetics
  • Flowers / metabolism
  • Flowers / ultrastructure
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / physiology
  • Glucans / metabolism*
  • Glucosyltransferases / genetics
  • Glucosyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / genetics
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / metabolism
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / ultrastructure
  • Pollen / genetics
  • Pollen / metabolism*
  • Pollen / physiology*
  • Pollen / ultrastructure
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Glucans
  • callose
  • Glucosyltransferases
  • 1,3-beta-glucan synthase