Cell differentiation is essential for the development of multicellular organisms. In flowering plants, the haploid male gametophytes (pollen grains) are generated in the anther from reproductive cells called microsporocytes. Several types of somatic cells ensure successful pollen development, and thus reproduction. However, it is not clear what genes regulate the differentiation of these diverse, highly specialized cells in the anther. We report here the isolation and characterization of a novel Arabidopsis thaliana male sterile mutant, excess microsporocytes1 (ems1), that produces excess microsporocytes, lacks tapetal cells, and abnormally maintains middle layer cells. Although the meiotic nuclear division in the ems1 mutant is normal, the microsporocytes do not undergo cytokinesis, resulting in failed microsporogenesis and male sterility. The EMS1 gene encodes a putative leucine-rich repeat receptor protein kinase (LRR-RPK), and its expression is associated with the differentiation of the microsporocytes and tapetal cells, suggesting that EMS1 mediates signals that control the fate of reproductive cells and their contiguous somatic cells.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental Biology