A novel class of MYB factors controls sperm cell formation in plants
journal contributionposted on 25.08.2006, 15:48 by Nicolas Rotman, Anjusha Durbarry, Anthony Wardle, Wei Cai Yang, Annie Chaboud, Jean-Emmanuel Faure, Frédéric Berger, David Twell
In contrast to animals, the plant male germ line is established after meiosis in distinctive haploid structures, termed pollen grains. Germ line arises by a distinct asymmetric division of the meiotic products. The fate of the resulting vegetative and generative cells are distinct. In contrast to the larger vegetative cell arrested in the G1 phase of the cell cycle, the smaller generative cell divides once to produce the two male gametes or sperm cells. Sperm cells are delivered to the female gametes by the pollen tube, which develops from the vegetative cell. In spite of recent efforts to understand pollen development the molecular pathway controlling sperm cell ontogenesis is unknown. Here we present the isolation of DUO1, a novel R2R3 MYB gene of Arabidopsis, as the first gene shown to control male gamete formation in plants. DUO1 is specifically expressed in the male germ line and DUO1 protein accumulates in sperm cell nuclei. Mutations in DUO1 produce a single larger diploid sperm cell unable to perform fertilisation. DUO1 appears to be evolutionarily conserved in several plant species and defines a new subfamily of pollen-specific MYB genes.