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Chen, Z, Hafidh, S, Poh, SH, Twell, D and Berger, F (2009) Proliferation and cell fate establishment during Arabidopsis male gametogenesis depends on the Retinoblastoma protein. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 106:7257-62


The Retinoblastoma (Rb) protein is a conserved repressor of cell proliferation. In animals and plants, deregulation of Rb protein causes hyperproliferation and perturbs cell differentiation to various degrees. However, the primary developmental impact of the loss of Rb protein has remained unclear. In this study we investigated the direct consequences of Rb protein knockout in the Arabidopsis male germline using cytological and molecular markers. The Arabidopsis germ line derives from the unequal division of the microspore, producing a small germ cell and a large terminally differentiated vegetative cell. A single division of the germ cell produces the 2 sperm cells. We observed that the loss of Rb protein does not have a major impact on microspore division but causes limited hyperproliferation of the vegetative cell and, to a lesser degree, of the sperm cells. In addition, cell fate is perturbed in a fraction of Rb-defective vegetative cells. These defects are rescued by preventing cell proliferation arising from down-regulation of cyclin-dependent kinase A1. Our results indicate that hyperproliferation caused by the loss of Rb protein prevents or delays cell determination during plant male gametogenesis, providing further evidence for a direct link between fate determination and cell proliferation.


PubMed PMC2678419 Online version:10.1073/pnas.0810992106


Arabidopsis/genetics; Arabidopsis/growth & development; Arabidopsis/metabolism; Cell Lineage; Cell Proliferation; Gametogenesis; Pollen/cytology; Pollen/metabolism; Retinoblastoma Protein/metabolism