Syntaxin of plants31 (SYP31) and SYP32 are essential for Golgi morphology maintenance and pollen development

Plant Physiol. 2021 Feb 12;kiab049. doi: 10.1093/plphys/kiab049. Online ahead of print.


Pollen development is a key process for the sexual reproduction of angiosperms. The Golgi plays critical roles in pollen development via the synthesis and transport of cell wall materials. However, little is known about the molecular mechanisms underlying the maintenance of Golgi integrity in plants. In Arabidopsis thaliana, syntaxin of plants (SYP) 3 family proteins SYP31 and SYP32 are the only two Golgi-localized Qa-soluble N-ethylmaleimide sensitive factor attachment protein receptors (SNAREs) with unknown endogenous functions. Here, we demonstrate the roles of SYP31 and SYP32 in modulating Golgi morphology and pollen development. Two independent lines of syp31/+ syp32/+ double mutants were male gametophytic lethal; the zero transmission rate of syp31 syp32 mutations was restored to largely normal levels by pSYP32:SYP32 but not pSYP32:SYP31 transgenes, indicating their functional differences in pollen development. The initial arrest of syp31 syp32 pollen occurred during the transition from the microspore to the bicellular stage, where cell plate formation in pollen mitosis I (PMI) and deposition of intine were abnormal. In syp31 syp32 pollen, the number and length of Golgi cisterna were significantly reduced, accompanied by many surrounding vesicles, which could be largely attributed to defects in anterograde and retrograde trafficking routes. SYP31 and SYP32 directly interacted with COG3, a subunit of the conserved oligomeric Golgi (COG) complex, and were responsible for its Golgi localization, providing an underlying mechanism for SYP31/32 function in intra-Golgi trafficking. We propose that SYP31 and SYP32 play partially redundant roles in pollen development by modulating protein trafficking and Golgi structure.