Plant Reproductive Biology
The goal of this research is to elucidate the mechanisms by which the transmitting tissue (TT) regulates pollen tube growth. Plant arbinogalactan proteins (AGPs) are a large family of complex structural proteins known to regulate root development and pollen tube growth. The TT-specific AGPs that are the focus of this project include the Transmitting Tissue Specific (TTS) and the Class III Pistil Extensin-Like Protein (PELPIII). They are developmentally regulated, highly glycosylated, taken up by pollen tubes, and composed of conserved proline-rich N-terminal (NTD) and cysteine-rich C-terminal domains (CTD). The Nicotiana tabacum PELPIII was shown to be essential for specific inhibition of pollen tube growth during interspecific incompatibility; TTS protein promotes pollen tube growth in vivo and in vitro; 120-kDa (120K) protein is required for Nicotiana alata S-specific pollen rejection. Although the AGPs regulate pollen tube growth and are, therefore, involved in species evolution, the mechanisms of action are not known.
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