Characterization of three male-sterile mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana exhibiting alterations in meiosis

Brenda N. Peirson, Heather A. Owen, Kenneth A. Feldmann, Christopher A. Makaroff

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71 Scopus citations


Male-sterile mutants are being studied to deepen our understanding of the complex processes of microsporogenesis and microgametogenesis. Due to difficulties associated with isolating the mutated gene, there is currently very little molecular information on the defects responsible for male sterility. As a first step in utilizing male-sterile mutants to better understand the biochemical and molecular processes that control pollen development, we have characterized a number of Arabidopsis thaliana lines that were generated by seed transformation and exhibit male sterility. We report here the identification and characterization of three male- sterile A. thaliana lines, all of which are tagged with T-DNA and show aberrant meiosis. A detailed cytochemical study was conducted on these lines to better understand the timing and nature of each mutation and to investigate how these mutations affect subsequent steps of pollen development. All three mutants undergo apparently normal morphogenesis until the onset of meiosis. In one line (6492) the mutations is most notable at the tetrad stage when up to eight microspores can be seen in each callose-encased tetrad. The resulting mutant microspores are of variable sizes and contain different amounts of DNA. Two other mutants (7219 and 7593) possess many common features, including variable developmental pathways, failure to produce callose, production of vacuolate, coenocytic (multi-nucleate) cells that are surrounded by persistent microsporocyte walls, and asynchronous patterns of development. Unlike the situation in wild-type plants, where developmental stages are correlated with bud length, such correlations are almost impossible with these two mutants. The sporogenous tissue within all three of these mutant lines collapses to anthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalSexual Plant Reproduction
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996


  • Arabidopsis thaliana
  • Callose
  • Male-sterile mutants
  • Meiosis
  • Pollen development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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