Homeostasis of Flavonoids and Triterpenoids Most Likely Modulates Starch Metabolism for Pollen Tube Penetration in Rice

HuaMao Wu, DongJiang Xie, Pengfei Jia, Zuoshun Tang, Dongqiao Shi, Guanghou Shui, Guodong Wang, Weicai Yang

Plant Biotechnology Journal


In angiosperms, the timely delivery of sperm cell nuclei by pollen tube (PT) to the ovule is vital for double fertilization. Penetration of PT into maternal stigma tissue is a critical step for sperm cell nuclei delivery, yet little is known about the process. Here, a male-specific and sporophytic mutant xt6, where PTs are able to germinate but unable to penetrate the stigma tissue, is reported in Oryza sativa. Through genetic study, the causative gene was identified as Chalcone synthase (OsCHS1), encoding the first enzyme in flavonoid biosynthesis. Indeed, flavonols were undetected in mutant pollen grains and PTs, indicating that the mutation abolished flavonoid biosynthesis. Nevertheless, the phenotype cannot be rescued by exogenous application of quercetin and kaempferol as reported in maize and petunia, suggesting a different mechanism exists in rice. Further analysis showed that loss of OsCHS1 function disrupted the homeostasis of flavonoid and triterpenoid metabolism and led to the accumulation of triterpenoid, which inhibits significantly α-amylase activity, amyloplast hydrolysis and monosaccharide content in xt6, these ultimately impaired tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, reduced ATP content and lowered the turgor pressure as well. Our findings reveal a new mechanism that OsCHS1 modulates starch hydrolysis and glycometabolism through modulating the metabolic homeostasis of flavonoids and triterpenoids which affects α-amylase activity to maintain PT penetration in rice, which contributes to a better understanding of the function of CHS1 in crop fertility and breeding.