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Laser Microdissection Facilitates a Comprehensive Understanding of Molecular Mechanisms of Plant Male Gametes Production

Xiang Tang1,2, Qiao-Quan Liu2, Wei-Hua Tang1* (1Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200032, China; 2Key Laboratory of Plant Functional Genomics of Ministry of Education, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou 225009, China)  
The production of male gametophyte (i.e. microspore, pollen) is important to sexual reproduction of flowering plants. The male gamete develops inside of the anther, and is synchronized with anther development. Tapetal cells in the anther directly provide nutrients to pollen. Genome-wide expression profiling of different types of cells (such as pollen, tapetum, etc) in anther can provide rich information for comprehensive understanding of molecular mechanisms in plant male gametophyte production. However, previous profiling used whole anthers or even whole inflorescence therefore can not provide cell-type specific expression information. Recently, laser micro-dissection technology has been used in the field of rice pollen development, and revealed the transcriptome of microspore and tapetum at various stages. This work not only provided, more pollen or tapetum-specific genes, but also identified pollen or tapetum-enriched biochemical and metabolizable pathways, and cis-regulatory elements of genes specifically expressed in pollen and tapetum. Meanwhile, spatiotemporal expressions of various phytohor- mones in pollen development have been systematically analyzed. In conclusion, results from laser microdissection combined with genome-scale microarray provided leads for many novel scientific hypothesis for testing, facilitated our studying towards a comprehensive understanding of molecular mechanisms of plant male gametes production.
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