Visualisation of plastid degradation in sperm cells of wheat pollen

Lucia F. Primavesi, Huixia Wu, Elisabeth A Mudd, Anil Day, Huw D Jones

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Like most angiosperms, wheat (Triticum aestivum) shows maternal inheritance of plastids. It is thought that this takes place by cytoplasmic stripping at fertilisation rather than the absence of plastids in sperm cells. To determine the fate of plastids during sperm cell development, plastid-targeted green fluorescent protein was used to visualise these organelles in nuclear transgenic wheat lines. Fewer than thirty small 1-2-μm plastids were visible in early uninucleate pollen cells. These dramatically increased to several hundred larger (4 μm) plastids during pollen maturation and went through distinct morphological changes. Only small plastids were visible in generative cells (n = 25) and young sperm cells (n = 9). In mature sperm cells, these green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged plastids were absent. This is consistent with maternal inheritance of plastids resulting from their degradation in mature sperm cells in wheat.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-237
Issue number1
Early online date21 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2017


  • wheat
  • pollen
  • GFP
  • plastid
  • sperm cell
  • plastid networks
  • maternal inheritance


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