Petunia (Petunia hybrida) pollen requires flavonols (Fl) to germinate. Adding kaempferol to Fl-deficient pollen causes rapid and synchronous germination and tube outgrowth. We exploited this system to identify genes responsive to Fls and to examine the changes in gene expression that occur during the first 0.5 h of pollen germination. We used a subtracted library and differential screening to identify 22 petunia germinating pollen clones. All but two were expressed exclusively in pollen and half of the clones were rare or low abundance cDNAs. RNA gel-blot analysis showed that the steady-state transcript levels of all the clones were increased in response to kaempferol. The sequences showing the greatest response to kaempferol encode proteins that have regulatory or signaling functions and include S/D4, a leucine-rich repeat protein, S/D1, a LIM-domain protein, and D14, a putative Zn finger protein with a heme-binding site. Eight of the clones were novel including S/D10, a cDNA only expressed very late in pollen development and highly up-regulated during the first 0.5 h of germination. The translation product of the S/D3 cDNA shares some features with a neuropeptide that regulates guidance and growth in the tips of extending axons. This study confirmed that the bulk of pollen mRNA accumulates well before germination, but that specific sequences are transcribed during the earliest moments of Fl-induced pollen germination.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Plant Science