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Biochemistry Seminar: Liam Le Lievre (PhD Candidate)

Kiwifruit (the genus Actinidia) is unusual amongst plants in that it is dioecious, meaning there are separate male and female plants. Sexuality in kiwifruit is controlled by two genes in a 0.5 MB male-specific sex-determining region, and one of these genes, known as Friendly Boy (FrBy), has shown to be crucial for male fertility. The absence of FrBy in female kiwifruit causes delayed programmed cell death (PCD) of the nourishing tapetal cell layer of the anther, resulting in pollen sterility.

However, the mechanism by which FrBy acts to sustain pollen development in male kiwifruit is unknown. By performing low-input RNAseq on single male and female kiwifruit anthers and their isolated meiocytes/microspores at key developmental stages, we have developed an overview of gene expression throughout the early steps of male reproductive development in kiwifruit. Further, by analysis of differential gene expression between sexes, we identified a male-specific upregulation in peroxidases and other redox-related genes. We therefore propose a model for FrBy function, whereby it acts as an indirect inducer of a tapetal reactive oxygen species (ROS) burst that is essential for precise execution of PCD.

Understanding the function of FrBy may elucidate how male meiocytes communicate with the tapetum throughout pollen development, and could guide the development of hermaphroditic kiwifruit capable of self-fertilization.

Date Tuesday, 18 May 2021
Time 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Audience All University
Event Category Health Sciences
Event Type Seminar
LocationBiochemistry Seminar Room BIG13, Dunedin
Contact NameDepartment of Biochemistry
Contact Phone+64 3 479 7863

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