Anther development in flowering plants involves the formation of several cell types, including the tapetal and pollen mother cells. The use of genetic and molecular tools has led to the identification and characterization of genes that are critical for normal cell division and differentiation in Arabidopsis early anther development. We review here several recent studies on these genes, including the demonstration that the putative receptor protein kinases BAM1 and BAM2 together play essential roles in the control of early cell division and differentiation. In addition, we discuss the hypothesis that BAM1/2 may form a positive-negative feedback regulatory loop with a previously identified key regulator, SPOROCYTELESS (also called NOZZLE), to control the balance between sporogenous and somatic cell types in the anther. Furthermore, we summarize the isolation and functional analysis of the DYSFUNCTIONAL TAPETUM1 (DYT1) gene in promoting proper tapetal cell differentiation. Our finding that DYT1 encodes a putative transcription factor of the bHLH family, as well as relevant expression analyses, strongly supports a model that DYT1 serves as a critical link between upstream factors and downstream target genes that are critical for normal tapetum development and function. These studies, together with other recently published works, indicate that cell-cell communication and transcriptional control are key processes essential for cell fate specification in anther development.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- Plant Science