Those aren’t coffee beans on the cover of New Phytologist 219:1, but pollen grains.
There is something wrong with these pollen grains. Look closely and you’ll see that some of them appear crumpled, misshapen.
The aborted, misshapen pollen grains are caused by a mutation, induced by Nakamura and colleagues.
The non-specific phospholipase C (NPC) is an emerging class of phospholipase, found in certain bacteria and plants. Plant NPCs are known to influence the responses of plants to environmental stress. The researchers wondered whether they were required for plant development, under normal growth conditions.
By inducing the mutation in two NPCs, NPC2 and NPC6, and observing the consequences for pollen development shown in the image, Nakamura and colleagues showed that these two NPCs are essential in gametophyte development.
Read the paper: Ngo, A. H., Lin, Y., Liu, Y., Gutbrod, K., Peisker, H., Dörmann, P. and Nakamura, Y. (2018) A pair of nonspecific phospholipases C, NPC2 and NPC6, are involved in gametophyte development and glycerolipid metabolism in Arabidopsis. New Phytologist. doi: 10.1111/nph.15147
What to read next:
- How do pollen tubes grow?
- When did flowers originate? Solving the ‘abominable mystery’
- Deeper purple: how temperature affects pollen colour
Mike Whitfield (@mgwhitfield)
New Phytologist Trust