A role for HvGAMYB in anther development


* For correspondence (fax +61 262465000; e-mail frank.gubler@csiro.au).


HvGAMYB is a transcription factor that was first identified in barley aleurone cells and shown to be upregulated by gibberellin (GA). Using RNA and immunoblot analysis we have shown HvGAMYB is also strongly expressed in barley anthers. Transgenic barley expressing a HvGAMYB:GFP fusion gene have been created and GAMYB expression in anthers analysed. GFP expression was clearly visible during early anther development in the nuclei of the epidermis, endothecium, middle layer and tapetum. Expression in the epidermis and endothecium persists until just prior to anther dehiscence, expression in the other two cell layers is visible until they are compressed and broken down as the microspores develop. Further evidence of a role for HvGAMYB in anther development was provided by the creation of transgenic barley over-expressing the HvGAMYB gene. Associated with the increase in HvGAMYB levels was a progressive decrease in anther size, particularly a decrease in anther length. Anthers also became increasingly lighter in colour. Anthers with fourfold more HvGAMYB protein than non-transgenic controls failed to dehisce and were male sterile, anthers with approximately three to fourfold endogenous GAMYB protein levels were smaller and paler but still shed normally. To investigate the hormonal regulation of HvGAMYB expression in anthers, HvGAMYB and SLN1 protein levels in anthers were analysed following application of GA3. As in cereal aleurone, HvGAMYB levels were found to increase and SLN1 levels decrease following GA3 application suggesting a similar GA-signalling pathway to that in aleurone exists in anthers.