4.8 Article

Evolutionarily diverse SYP1 Qa-SNAREs jointly sustain pollen tube growth in Arabidopsis


Volume 92, Issue 3, Pages 375-385


DOI: 10.1111/tpj.13659


Arabidopsis thaliana; pollen-specific SNAREs; membrane trafficking; membrane fusion; pollen tube growth; evolution



  1. German Science Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft - DFG) [SFB1101/B01, Ju 179/10-23]
  2. Max Planck Society

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Intracellular membrane fusion is effected by SNARE proteins that reside on adjacent membranes and form bridging trans-SNARE complexes. Qa-SNARE members of the Arabidopsis SYP1 family are involved in membrane fusion at the plasma membrane or during cell plate formation. Three SYP1 family members have been classified as pollen-specific as inferred from gene expression profiling studies, and two of them, SYP124 and SYP125, are confined to angiosperms. The SYP124 gene appears genetically unstable, whereas its sister gene SYP125 shows essentially no variation among Arabidopsis accessions. The third pollen-specific member SYP131 is sister to SYP132, which appears evolutionarily conserved in the plant lineage. Although evolutionarily diverse, the three SYP1 proteins are functionally overlapping in that only the triple mutant syp124 syp125 syp131 shows a specific and severe male gametophytic defect. While pollen development and germination appear normal, pollen tube growth is arrested during passage through the style. Our results suggest that angiosperm pollen tubes employ a combination of ancient and modern Qa-SNARE proteins to sustain their growth-promoting membrane dynamics during the reproductive process. Significance Statement Arabidopsis SNARE proteins of the SYP1 family represent three different subgroups (SYP11, SYP12, and SYP13) that each appear to have evolved specific functions and expression patterns. However, we identified pollen-specific members of two subgroups that overlap in their function and jointly mediate membrane fusion processes at the growing pollen tube tip required for successful reproduction.


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