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Abstract

In flowering plants, the exine components are derived from tapetum. Despite its importance to sexual plant reproduction, little is known about the translocation of exine materials from tapetum to developing microspores. Here we report functional characterization of the arabidopsis WBC27 gene. WBC27 encodes an adenosine tri-phosphate binding cassette (ABC) transporter and is expressed preferentially in tapetum. Mutation of WBC27 disrupted the exine formation. The wbc27 mutant microspores began to degenerate once released from tetrads and most of the microspores collapsed at the uninucleate stage. Only a small number of wbc27-1 microspores could develop into tricellular pollen grains. These survival pollen grains lacked exine and germinated in the anther before anthesis. All of these results suggest that the ABC transporter, WBC27 plays important roles in the formation of arabidopsis exine, possibly by translocation of lipidic precursors of sporopollenin from tapetum to developing microspores.