Flowering plants form male reproductive cells (microsporocytes) during sporophytic generation, which subsequently differentiate into multicellular male gametes in the gametophytic generation. The tapetum is a somatic helper tissue neighboring microsporocytes and supporting gametogenesis. The mechanism controlling the specification of the tapetum and microsporocyte cell fate within the anther has long been a mystery in biology. Recent investigations have revealed molecular switches and signaling pathways underlying the establishment of somatic and reproductive cells in plants. In this review we discuss common and diversified signaling molecules and regulatory pathways including receptor-like protein kinases, redox status, glycoprotein, transcription factors, hormones and microRNA implicated in the specification of tapetum and microsporocytes in plants.
Copyright © 2013. Published by Elsevier Ltd.