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Crop Pollen Development under Drought: From the Phenotype to the Mechanism

State Key Laboratory of Subtropical Silviculture, School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University, Hangzhou 311300, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(7), 1550;
Received: 26 February 2019 / Revised: 22 March 2019 / Accepted: 23 March 2019 / Published: 28 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of Drought Stress Tolerance in Plants)
PDF [963 KB, uploaded 28 March 2019]


Drought stress induced pollen sterility is a harmful factor that reduces crop yield worldwide. During the reproductive process, the meiotic stage and the mitotic stage in anthers are both highly vulnerable to water deficiency. Drought at these stages causes pollen sterility by affecting the nature and structure of the anthers, including the degeneration of some meiocytes, disorientated microspores, an expanded middle layer and abnormal vacuolizated tapeta. The homeostasis of the internal environment is imbalanced in drought-treated anthers, involving the decreases of gibberellic acid (GA) and auxin, and the increases of abscisic acid (ABA), jasmonic acid (JA) and reactive oxygen species (ROS). Changes in carbohydrate availability, metabolism and distribution may be involved in the effects of drought stress at the reproductive stages. Here, we summarize the molecular regulatory mechanism of crop pollen development under drought stresses. The meiosis-related genes, sugar transporter genes, GA and ABA pathway genes and ROS-related genes may be altered in their expression in anthers to repair the drought-induced injures. It could also be that some drought-responsive genes, mainly expressed in the anther, regulate the expression of anther-related genes to improve both drought tolerance and anther development. A deepened understanding of the molecular regulatory mechanism of pollen development under stress will be beneficial for breeding drought-tolerant crops with high and stable yield under drought conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: pollen development; drought; crop; mechanism; phenotype pollen development; drought; crop; mechanism; phenotype

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Yu, J.; Jiang, M.; Guo, C. Crop Pollen Development under Drought: From the Phenotype to the Mechanism. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 1550.

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