Navigation Links
Biologists discover gene behind 'plant sex mystery'
Date:10/22/2008

An enigma unique to flowering plants has been solved by researchers from the University of Leicester (UK) and POSTECH, South Korea.

The discovery is reported in the journal Nature on 23 October 2008.

Scientists already knew that flowering plants, unlike animals require not one, but two sperm cells for successful fertilisation.

The mystery of this 'double fertilization' process was how each single pollen grain could produce 'twin' sperm cells. One to join with the egg cell to produce the embryo, and the other to join with a second cell in the ovary to produce the endosperm, a nutrient-rich tissue, inside the seed.

Double fertilisation is essential for fertility and seed production in flowering plants so increased understanding of the process is important.

Now Professor David Twell, of the Department of Biology at the University of Leicester and Professor Hong Gil Nam of POSTECH, South Korea report the discovery of a gene that has a critical role in allowing precursor reproductive cells to divide to form twin sperm cells.

Professor Twell said: "This collaborative project has produced results that unlock a key element in a botanical puzzle.

The key discovery is that this gene, known as FBL17, is required to trigger the destruction of another protein that inhibits cell division. The FBL17 gene therefore acts as a switch within the young pollen grain to trigger precursor cells to divide into twin sperm cells.

"Plants with a mutated version of this gene produce pollen grains with a single sperm cell instead of the pair of sperm that are required for successful double fertilization.

"Interestingly, the process employed by plants to control sperm cell reproduction was found to make use of an ancient mechanism found in yeast and in animals involving the selective destruction of inhibitor proteins that otherwise block the path to cell division.

"Removal of these blocks promotes the production of a twin sperm cell cargo in each pollen grain and thus ensures successful reproduction in flowering plants.

"This discovery is a significant step forward in uncovering the mysteries of flowering plant reproduction. This new knowledge will be useful in understanding the evolutionary origins of flowering plant reproduction and may be used by plant breeders to control crossing behaviour in crop plants.

"In the future such information may become increasingly important as we strive to breed superior crops that maintain yield in a changing climate. Given that flowering plants dominate the vegetation of our planet and that we are bound to them for our survival, it is heartening that we are one step closer to understanding their reproductive secrets."

Researchers at the University of Leicester are continuing their investigation into plant reproduction. Further research underway in Professor Twell's laboratory is already beginning to reveal the answers to secrets about how the pair of sperm cells produced within each pollen grain aquires the ability to fertilize.


'/>"/>

Contact: Professor David Twell
twe@le.ac.uk
44-011-625-22281
University of Leicester
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. The American Society of Plant Biologists announces 2007 awards
2. Biologists expose hidden costs of firefly flashes
3. Tufts University biologists link Huntingtons disease to health benefits in young
4. UD plant biologists uncover top wetland plants hidden weapon
5. Evolution is deterministic, not random, biologists conclude from multi-species study
6. Biologists find unusual plant gene: abstinence by mutual consent
7. Ant parasite turns host into ripe red berry, biologists discover
8. Cell biologists announce child-care grants for scientist-parents at annual meeting
9. Biologists surprised to find parochial bacterial viruses
10. Biologists at UC San Diego identify key protein in cells self-eating function
11. Biologists are from Mars, chemists are from Venus?
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Biologists discover gene behind 'plant sex mystery'
(Date:3/30/2017)... 2017  On April 6-7, 2017, Sequencing.com will host ... hackathon at Microsoft,s headquarters in Redmond, ... on developing health and wellness apps that provide a ... Genome is the first hackathon for personal genomics ... companies in the genomics, tech and health industries are ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... , March 28, 2017 The ... Hardware (Camera, Monitors, Servers, Storage Devices), Software (Video Analytics, ... Region - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, ... 2016 and is projected to reach USD 75.64 Billion ... and 2022. The base year considered for the study ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... 2017 The report "Gesture Recognition and Touchless Sensing Market ... - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to ... between 2017 and 2022. Continue Reading ... ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/22/2017)... Boston, MA (PRWEB) , ... May 22, 2017 , ... ... evidence, has expanded to the East Coast. It has opened an office in downtown ... innovative therapies are finding it increasingly more important to generate evidence on the value ...
(Date:5/21/2017)... ... May 19, 2017 , ... Ovation Fertility ... the American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB) and the College of Reproductive Biology (CRB) ... reinforces AAB’s commitment to excellence in clinical laboratory services and regulations. , ...
(Date:5/19/2017)... PA (PRWEB) , ... May 19, 2017 , ... ... its QED Proof-of-Concept Program. Academic researchers with technologies ripe for commercialization, and ... New Jersey and Delaware, are encouraged to submit proposals. QED, now in its ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... ... May 16, 2017 , ... Clinical Supplies Management (“CSM”), ... as the company continues to grow. CSM has doubled in size over the ... executing an aggressive growth strategy. , Roger Gasper joins CSM as Chief Financial Officer. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: