Navigation Links
Breakthrough study solves plant sex mystery
Date:6/6/2014

A team of biologists from the University of Leicester has solved a mystery surrounding how plants have sex.

The researchers have discovered a pair of proteins made by flowering plants that are vital for the production of the sperm present within each pollen grain.

Scientists already knew that flowering plants, in contrast to animals, require not one, but two sperm cells for successful fertilisation: one to join with the egg cell to produce the embryo and one to join with a second cell to produce the nutrient-rich endosperm inside the seed.

The mystery of this 'double fertilization' process is how each single pollen grain is able to produce twin sperm cells.

This breakthrough study from the Twell Laboratory at the University of Leicester, published in the prestigious academic journal The Plant Cell, has found a pair of genes called DAZ1 and DAZ2 that are essential for making twin sperm cells. Plants with mutated versions of DAZ1 and DAZ2 produce pollen grains with a single sperm that is unable to fertilize.

The researchers show that DAZ1 and DAZ2 are controlled by the protein DUO1 that acts as a 'master switch' - so that DUO1 and the DAZ1/DAZ2 genes work in tandem to control a gene network that ensures a pair of fertile sperm is made inside each pollen grain.

Interestingly, DAZ1 and DAZ2 perform their role by cooperating with a well-known 'repressor' protein called TOPLESS that acts as a brake on unwanted gene activity that would otherwise halt sperm and seed production. Although TOPLESS has many roles in plants it has not previously been linked sperm production.

Professor David Twell at the University of Leicester's Department of Biology, who led the study, said: "We often take for granted sexual reproduction in plants and its role in our lives. It is a complex process that has been studied scientifically for over a century, but it is only recently that we are beginning to get a grip on the underlying mechanisms.

"We hope to use our discovery to decipher the origins of sexual reproduction and to further demystify the fascinating process - of how plants make the fertile sperm inside the pollen grains - that are essential for the vast majority of our food crop production."

Given their important role in male fertility, the discovery of DAZ1 and DAZ2 has the potential to be applied in the development of new plant breeding techniques to prevent the unwanted passing of genes or 'horizontal gene transfer' - between crops or from crops to wild species.

This new knowledge also generates genetic tools and new ways of thinking about, and monitoring the effects of, environmental stresses on the reproductive process. In future such information may become increasingly important as we strive to breed superior crops that maintain yield in a changing climate.


'/>"/>

Contact: David Twell
twe@le.ac.uk
01-162-522-281
University of Leicester
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Breakthrough shows how DNA is edited to correct genetic diseases
2. Breakthrough method for making Janus or patchy capsules
3. Research breakthrough paves the way for understanding serious diseases
4. Major breakthrough in understanding Prader-Willi Syndrome, a parental imprinting disorder
5. Breakthrough made at Max F. Perutz Laboratories
6. Major breakthrough in stem cell manufacturing technology
7. New invasive species breakthrough sparks interest around the world
8. A micro-muscular breakthrough
9. Scripps oceanography researchers engineer breakthrough for biofuel production
10. Breakthrough in adult heart repair
11. Breakthrough by Temple researchers could lead to new treatment for heart attack
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Breakthrough study solves plant sex mystery
(Date:3/21/2016)... -- Unique technology combines v ...   Xura, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... communications services, today announced it is working alongside SpeechPro ... particularly those in the Financial Services Sector, the ability ... a mobile app, alongside, and in combination with, traditional ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... ALBANY, New York , March 15, 2016 ... a new market report published by Transparency Market Research "Digital ... Growth, Trends and Forecast 2015 - 2023," the global digital ... at US$ 731.9 Mn in 2014 and is forecast to ... to 2023. Growth of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) ...
(Date:3/14/2016)... http://www.apimages.com ) - ... - Renvoi : image disponible via AP Images ( ... --> DERMALOG, le leader de l,innovation ... d,empreintes digitales pour l,enregistrement des réfugiés en Allemagne. ... produire des cartes d,identité aux réfugiés. DERMALOG dévoilera ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... Proove ... acquire Algynomics, a research-stage pain diagnostics company. The Algynomics platform and ... risk for the development of chronic pain, which will allow targeted preventive efforts, ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... Atlanta, Georgia (PRWEB) , ... May 05, 2016 ... ... Patent and Trademark Office has granted two additional patents, U.S. Patent Nos. 9,322,133 ... These patents cover processes for making nanocellulose as well as hydrophobic nanocellulose compositions. ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... BLUE BELL, Pa. , May 5, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... X. Powers and Lorna Weir launching ... atypical, un-agency way? Because they believe that truly helping ... dynamic world of healthcare now demands a different type ... multidisciplinary strategy lab serving the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... ProMIS Neurosciences ... its first three targets, it has identified a fourth in a series of ... the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). , “This discovery ...
Breaking Biology Technology: