Specification of tapetum and microsporocyte cells within the anther

Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2014 Feb;17:49-55. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2013.11.001. Epub 2013 Dec 3.


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.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Flowers / cytology
  • Flowers / genetics
  • Flowers / growth & development*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Models, Biological
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Pollen / cytology
  • Pollen / genetics
  • Pollen / growth & development*
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Plant Proteins
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases