The STUD gene is required for male-specific cytokinesis after telophase II of meiosis in Arabidopsis thaliana

Martin Hülskamp, Nikesh S. Parekh, Paul Grini, Kay Schneitz, Inge Zimmermann, Susan J. Lolle, Robert E. Pruitt

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112 Scopus citations


During male meiosis in wild-type Arabidopsis the pollen mother cell (PMC) undergoes two meiotic nuclear divisions in the absence of cell division. Only after telophase II is a wall formed which partitions the PMC into four microspores. Each microspore undergoes two subsequent mitotic divisions to produce one vegetative cell and two sperm cells in the mature pollen grain. In this paper we describe the isolation and the phenotypic characterization of mutations in the STUD (STD) gene, which is specifically required for male-specific cytokinesis after telophase II of meiosis. Although the male meiotic nuclear divisions are normal in std mutant plants, no walls are formed resulting in a tetranucleate microspore. Despite the absence of cell division in the PMC, postmeiotic development in the coenocytic microscope proceeds relatively normally, resulting in the formation of large pollen grains which contain four vegetative nuclei and up to eight sperm cells. Interestingly, these enlarged pollen grains which contain multiple vegetative nuclei and extra sperm cells behave as single male gametophytes, producing only single pollen tubes and resulting in partial male fertility in std mutant plants. Characterization of the process of pollen development and pollen function in std mutants thus reveals two different types of developmental regulation. Each of the four nuclei found in a std microscope following meiosis is capable of independently undergoing the complete mitotic cell division (including cytokinesis) which the single nucleus of a wild-type microscope would normally undertake. The ability of the four meiotic products to independently continue through mitosis does not depend on their division into separate cells, but is controlled by some subcellular component found within the coenocytic microscope. By contrast, the mature std pollen grain functions as a unit and produces only a single pollen tube despite the presence of multiple nuclei within the vegetative cell, suggesting that this process is controlled at the cellular level independently of the extra subcellular components.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-124
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jul 1997
Externally publishedYes


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