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Male gametic cell-specific gene expression in flowering plants

  • Huiling Xu
  • Ines Swoboda
  • Prem L. Bhalla
  • Mohan B. Singh
The National Academy of Sciences
Publication Date
Mar 02, 1999


The role of the male gamete—the sperm cell—in the process of fertilization is to recognize, adhere to, and fuse with the female gamete. These highly specialized functions are expected to be controlled by activation of a unique set of genes. However, male gametic cells traditionally have been regarded as transcriptionally quiescent because of highly condensed chromatin and a very reduced amount of cytoplasm. Here, we provide evidence for male gamete-specific gene expression in flowering plants. We identified and characterized a gene, LGC1, which was shown to be expressed exclusively in the male gametic cells. The gene product of LGC1 was localized at the surface of male gametic cells, suggesting a possible role in sperm–egg interactions. These findings represent an important step toward defining the molecular mechanisms of male gamete development and the cellular processes involved in fertilization of flowering plants.

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