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Artik Elisa Angkawijaya†, Van Cam Nguyen†, Farrel Gunawan, and Yuki Nakamura* (2020) A pair of diacylglycerol kinases essential for gametogenesis and ER phospholipid metabolism in leaves and flowers of Arabidopsis. Plant Cell, http://www.plantcell.org/content/early/2020/05/29/tpc.20.00251. (†co-first author; *corresponding author)

Discovery of a new mechanism to produce a key lipid signal for pollen function Pollen function is crucial for successful fertilization and thus propagation of the plants. A number of agricultural problems are associated with pollen infertility, so a knowledge-based solution is demanded. A lipid compound phosphatidic acid (PA) has been known an important lipid signal during pollen growth. However, how PA is generated and how it affects the pollen function remain elusive.We hypothesized that PA for pollen function may be produced via unconventional pathway mediated by a type of enzyme called the kinases. We have successfully identified a pair of kinases, named DGK2 and DGK4, which can be found in growing pollen. Mutation of these kinases led to plant infertility due to pollen growth defect, and the defect was rescued by supplementing PA. We concluded that PA signal produced by DGK2 and DGK4 are essential for pollen function and plant fertility. Since this type of enzyme is widely found in agronomically important crop species, we consider that the underlying mechanism is highly conserved and the findings may be useful to improve agricultural problems in the future.




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