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1.  Ethylene is involved in maintaining tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) pollen quality under heat-stress conditions 
AoB Plants  2012;2012:pls024.
The paper supports the view that ethylene plays a significant role in maintaining tomato pollen thermotolerance. Interfering with the ethylene signalling pathway or reducing ethylene levels and increased tomato pollen sensitivity to heat stress. On the other hand, increasing ethylene levels before heat-stress improved pollen quality.
Background and aims
Exposure to higher-than-optimal temperatures reduces crop yield and quality, mainly due to sensitivity of developing pollen grains. The mechanisms maintaining high pollen quality under heat-stress conditions are poorly understood. Our recently published data indicate high heat-stress-induced expression of ethylene-responsive genes in tomato pollen, indicating ethylene involvement in the pollen heat-stress response. Here we elucidated ethylene's involvement in pollen heat-stress response and thermotolerance by assessing the effects of interfering with the ethylene signalling pathway and altering ethylene levels on tomato pollen functioning under heat stress.
Plants of the ethylene-insensitive mutant Never ripe (Nr)—defective in an ethylene response sensor (ERS)-like ethylene receptor—and the corresponding wild type were exposed to control or heat-stress growing conditions, and pollen quality was determined. Starch and carbohydrates were measured in isolated pollen grains from these plants. The effect of pretreating cv. Micro-Tom tomato plants, prior to heat-stress exposure, with an ethylene releaser or inhibitor of ethylene biosynthesis on pollen quality was assessed.
Principal results
Never ripe pollen grains exhibited higher heat-stress sensitivity, manifested by a significant reduction in the total number of pollen grains, reduction in the number of viable pollen and elevation of the number of non-viable pollen, compared with wild-type plants. Mature Nr pollen grains accumulated only 40 % of the sucrose level accumulated by the wild type. Pretreatment of tomato plants with an ethylene releaser increased pollen quality under heat stress, with an over 5-fold increase in the number of germinating pollen grains per flower. Pretreatment with an ethylene biosynthesis inhibitor reduced the number of germinating pollen grains following heat-stress exposure over 5-fold compared with non-treated controls.
Ethylene plays a significant role in tomato pollen thermotolerance. Interfering with the ethylene signalling pathway or reducing ethylene levels increased tomato pollen sensitivity to heat stress, whereas increasing ethylene levels prior to heat-stress exposure increased pollen quality.
PMCID: PMC3461890  PMID: 23050072
2.  Transcriptional profiling of maturing tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) microspores reveals the involvement of heat shock proteins, ROS scavengers, hormones, and sugars in the heat stress response 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2009;60(13):3891-3908.
Above-optimal temperatures reduce yield in tomato largely because of the high heat stress (HS) sensitivity of the developing pollen grains. The high temperature response, especially at this most HS-sensitive stage of the plant, is poorly understood. To obtain an overview of molecular mechanisms underlying the HS response (HSR) of microspores, a detailed transcriptomic analysis of heat-stressed maturing tomato microspores was carried out using a combination of Affymetrix Tomato Genome Array and cDNA-amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) techniques. The results were corroborated by reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) and immunoblot analyses. The data obtained reveal the involvement of specific members of the small heat shock protein (HSP) gene family, HSP70 and HSP90, in addition to the HS transcription factors A2 (HSFA2) and HSFA3, as well as factors other than the classical HS-responsive genes. The results also indicate HS regulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavengers, sugars, plant hormones, and regulatory genes that were previously implicated in other types of stress. The use of cDNA-AFLP enabled the detection of genes representing pollen-specific functions that are missing from the tomato Affymetrix chip, such as those involved in vesicle-mediated transport and a pollen-specific, calcium-dependent protein kinase (CDPK2). For several genes, including LeHSFA2, LeHSP17.4-CII, as well as homologues of LeHSP90 and AtVAMP725, higher basal expression levels were detected in microspores of cv. Hazera 3042 (a heat-tolerant cultivar) compared with microspores of cv. Hazera 3017 (a heat-sensitive cultivar), marking these genes as candidates for taking part in microspore thermotolerance. This work provides a comprehensive analysis of the molecular events underlying the HSR of maturing microspores of a crop plant, tomato.
PMCID: PMC2736902  PMID: 19628571
cDNA-AFLP; gene expression; heat stress response; microarray; microspore maturation; tomato
3.  The Effect of Heat Stress on Tomato Pollen Characteristics is Associated with Changes in Carbohydrate Concentration in the Developing Anthers 
Annals of Botany  2002;90(5):631-636.
Continuous exposure of tomato ‘Trust’ to high temperatures (day/night temperatures of 32/26 °C) markedly reduced the number of pollen grains per flower and decreased viability. The effect of heat stress on pollen viability was associated with alterations in carbohydrate metabolism in various parts of the anther during its development. Under control, favourable temperature conditions (28/22 °C), starch accumulated in the pollen grains, where it reached a maximum value 3 d before anthesis; it then diminished towards anthesis. During anther development, the concentration of total soluble sugars gradually increased in the anther walls and in the pollen grains (but not in the locular fluid), reaching a maximum at anthesis. Continuous exposure of the plants to high temperatures (32/26 °C) prevented the transient increase in starch concentration and led to decreases in the concentrations of soluble sugars in the anther walls and the pollen grains. In the locular fluid, however, a higher soluble sugar concentration was detected under the high‐temperature regime throughout anther development. These results suggest that a major effect of heat stress on pollen development is a decrease in starch concentration 3 d before anthesis, which results in a decreased sugar concentration in the mature pollen grains. These events possibly contribute to the decreased pollen viability in tomato.
PMCID: PMC4240456  PMID: 12466104
Anther development; carbohydrate; heat stress; pollen; starch; temperature stress

Results 1-3 (3)