Senatore A, Trobacher CP, Greenwood JS
Plant Physiol. 2009 Feb;149(2):775-90
Successful development and dehiscence of the anther and release of pollen are dependent upon the programmed cell death (PCD) of the tapetum and other sporophytic tissues. Ultrastructural examination of the developing and dehiscing anther of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) revealed that cells of the interlocular septum, the connective tissue, the middle layer/endothecium, and the epidermal cells surrounding the stomium all exhibit features consistent with progression through PCD. Ricinosomes, a subset of precursor protease vesicles that are unique to some incidents of plant PCD, were also present in all of these cell types. These novel organelles are known to harbor KDEL-tailed cysteine proteinases that act in the final stages of corpse processing following cell death. Indeed, a tomato KDEL-tailed cysteine proteinase, SlCysEP, was identified and its gene was cloned, sequenced, and characterized. SlCysEP transcript and protein were restricted to the anthers of the senescing tomato flower. Present in the interlocular septum and in the epidermal cells surrounding the stomium relatively early in development, SlCysEP accumulates later in the sporophytic tissues surrounding the locules as dehiscence ensues. At the ultrastuctural level, immunogold labeling localized SlCysEP to the ricinosomes within the cells of these tissues, but not in the tapetum. It is suggested that the accumulation of SlCysEP and the appearance of ricinosomes act as very early predictors of cell death in the tomato anther.