Journal Article

Arabinogalactan proteins as molecular markers in <i>Arabidopsis thaliana</i> sexual reproduction

Sílvia Coimbra, João Almeida, Vítor Junqueira, Mário Luís Costa and Luís Gustavo Pereira

in Journal of Experimental Botany

Published on behalf of Society for Experimental Biology

Volume 58, issue 15-16, pages 4027-4035
Published in print December 2007 | ISSN: 0022-0957
Published online November 2007 | e-ISSN: 1460-2431 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jxb/erm259

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Some of the most important changes that occur in plants during sexual reproduction involve the transition from a sporophytic to a gametophytic type of development. In this paper, these changes were evaluated for Arabidopsis thaliana. The results obtained clearly show differences in the pattern of distribution of specific arabinogalactan protein (AGP) sugar epitopes, during anther and ovule development. AGPs are hydroxyproline-rich glycoproteins that are massively glycosylated and ubiquitous in plants. The molecular mechanism of action of AGPs is still unknown, mainly due to the difficulties posed by the complex saccharide chains. However, the complex structure of the sugar fraction of AGPs makes them a potential source of signalling molecules. The selective labelling obtained with AGP mAbs JIM8, JIM13, MAC207, and LM2, during Arabidopsis pollen and pistil development, suggests that some AGPs can work as markers for gametophytic cell differentiation. Specific labelling of the first gametophytic cells in the pistil, the strong labelling of the secretory cells of the embryo sac, the synergid cells, and the labelling of the integument micropylar cells, apparently outlining the pollen tube pathway into its final target, the embryo sac, have all been shown. In the anthers, the specific labelling of gametophytic cells, and of the male gametes that travel along the pollen tube, may indicate AGP epitopes acting as signals for the pollen tube to reach its final destiny. The specific labelling of cells destined to go into programmed cell death is also discussed.

Keywords: Arabidopsis; arabinogalactan proteins; immunolocalization; monoclonal antibodies; gametic cells

Journal Article.  5041 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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