miR167 limits anther growth to potentiate anther dehiscence.


Department of Biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3280, USA [Email]


In flowering plants, anther dehiscence and pollen release are essential for sexual reproduction. Anthers dehisce after cell wall degradation weakens stomium cell junctions in each anther locule, and desiccation creates mechanical forces that open the locules. Either effect or both together may break stomium cell junctions. The microRNA miR167 negatively regulates ARF6 and ARF8, which encode auxin response transcription factors. Arabidopsis mARF6 or mARF8 plants with mutated miR167 target sites have defective anther dehiscence and ovule development. Null mir167a mutations recapitulated mARF6 and mARF8 anther and ovule phenotypes, indicating that MIR167a is the main miR167 precursor gene that delimits ARF6 and ARF8 expression in these organs. Anthers of mir167a or mARF6/8 plants overexpressed genes encoding cell wall loosening functions associated with cell expansion, and grew larger than wild-type anthers did starting at flower stage 11. Experimental desiccation enabled dehiscence of miR167-deficient anthers, indicating competence to dehisce. Conversely, high humidity conditions delayed anther dehiscence in wild-type flowers. These results support a model in which miR167-mediated anther growth arrest permits anther dehiscence. Without miR167 regulation, excess anther growth delays dehiscence by prolonging desiccation.


Anther dehiscence,Arabidopsis thaliana,Ovule,mARF6,mARF8,miR167,

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