A cyclic nucleotide-gated channel (CNGC16) in pollen is critical for stress tolerance in pollen reproductive development

Meral Tunc-Ozdemir, Chong Tang, Maryam Rahmati Ishka, Elizabeth Brown, Norman R. Groves, Candace T. Myers, Claudia Rato, Lisbeth R. Poulsen, Stephen McDowell, Gad Miller, Ron Mittler, Jeffrey F. Harper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cyclic nucleotide-gated channels (CNGCs) have been implicated in diverse aspects of plant growth and development, including responses to biotic and abiotic stress, as well as pollen tube growth and fertility. Here, genetic evidence identifies CNGC16 in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) as critical for pollen fertility under conditions of heat stress and drought. Two independent transfer DNA disruptions of cngc16 resulted in a greater than 10-fold stress-dependent reduction in pollen fitness and seed set. This phenotype was fully rescued through pollen expression of a CNGC16 transgene, indicating that cngc16-1 and 16-2 were both loss-of-function null alleles. The most stress-sensitive period for cngc16 pollen was during germination and the initiation of pollen tube tip growth. Pollen viability assays indicate that mutant pollen are also hypersensitive to external calcium chloride, a phenomenon analogous to calcium chloride hypersensitivities observed in other cngc mutants. A heat stress was found to increase concentrations of 3 ́,5 ́-cyclic guanyl monophosphate in both pollen and leaves, as detected using an antibody-binding assay. A quantitative PCR analysis indicates that cngc16 mutant pollen have attenuated expression of several heat-stress response genes, including two heat shock transcription factor genes, HsfA2 and HsfB1. Together, these results provide evidence for a heat stress response pathway in pollen that connects a cyclic nucleotide signal, a Ca2+-permeable ion channel, and a signaling network that activates a downstream transcriptional heat shock response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1010-1020
Number of pages11
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number2
Early online date12 Dec 2012
StatePublished - Feb 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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