PCP-B class pollen coat proteins are key regulators of the hydration checkpoint in Arabidopsis thaliana pollen-stigma interactions

Ludi Wang, Lisa A. Clarke, Russell J. Eason, Christopher C. Parker, Baoxiu Qi, Rod J. Scott, James Doughty

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65 Citations (SciVal)



The establishment of pollen-pistil compatibility is strictly regulated by factors derived from both male and female reproductive structures. Highly diverse small cysteine-rich proteins (CRPs) have been found to play multiple roles in plant reproduction, including the earliest stages of the pollen-stigma interaction. Secreted CRPs found in the pollen coat of members of the Brassicaceae, the pollen coat proteins (PCPs), are emerging as important signalling molecules that regulate the pollen-stigma interaction.

Using a combination of protein characterisation, expression, and phylogenetic analyses we identified a novel class of Arabidopsis thaliana pollen-borne CRPs, the PCP-Bs (for pollen coat protein B-class) that are related to embryo surrounding factor (ESF1) developmental regulators. Single and multiple PCP-B mutant lines were utilised in bioassays to assess effects on pollen hydration, adhesion and pollen tube growth.

Our results reveal that pollen hydration is severely impaired when multiple PCP-Bs are lost from then pollen coat. The hydration defect also resulted in reduced pollen adhesion and delayed pollen tube growth in all mutants studied.

These results demonstrate that AtPCP-Bs are key regulators of the hydration ‘checkpoint’ in establishment of pollen-stigma compatibility. In addition we propose that interspecies diversity of PCP-Bs may contribute to reproductive barriers in the Brassicaceae.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)764-777
Number of pages14
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number2
Early online date6 Sept 2016
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2016


  • pollen-stigma interaction, compatibility, pollen coat proteins, pollen hydration, signalling, reproduction, Arabidopsis thaliana


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