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Joseph H Williams – 1st expert on this subject based on the ideXlab platform

  • Open access – Research article THIS ARTICLE IS PART OF A SPECIAL ISSUE ENTITLED ‘POLLEN – PISTIL INTERACTIONS’ The evolution of pollen germination timing in flowering plants: Austrobaileya scandens (Austrobaileyaceae)
    , 2020
    Co-Authors: Joseph H Williams


    Background and aims The pollination to fertilization process (progamic phase) is thought to have become greatly abbreviated with the origin of flowering plants. In order to understand what developmental mechanisms enabled the speeding of fertilization, comparative data are needed from across the group, especially from early-divergent lineages. I studied the pollen germination process of Austrobaileya scandens, a perennial vine endemic to the Wet Tropics area of northeastern Queensland, Australia, and a member of the ancient angiosperm lineage, Austrobaileyales. Methodology I used in vivo and in vitro hand pollinations and timed collections to study development from late pollen maturation to just after germination. Then I compared the contribution of pollen germination timing to progamic phase duration in 131 angiosperm species (65 families). Principal findings Mature pollen of Austrobaileya was bicellular, starchless and moderately dehydrated—water content was 31.5 % by weight and volume increased by 57.9 % upon hydration. A callose layer in the inner intine appeared only after pollination. In vivo pollen germination followed a logarithmic curve, rising from 28 % at 1 hour after pollination (hap) to 97 % at 12 hap (R 2 ¼ 0.98). Sufficient pollen germination to fertilize all ovules was predicted to have occurred within 62 min. Across angiosperms, pollen germination ranged from 1 min to .60 h long and required 8.3+ 9.8 % of the total duration of the progamic phase.

  • The Evolution of Pollen Germination Timing in Flowering Plants: Austrobaileya Scandens (Austrobaileyaceae)
    Aob Plants, 2012
    Co-Authors: Joseph H Williams


    Background and aims
    The pollination to fertilization process (progamic phase) is thought to have become greatly abbreviated with the origin of flowering plants. In order to understand what developmental mechanisms enabled the speeding of fertilization, comparative data are needed from across the group, especially from early-divergent lineages. I studied the pollen germination process of Austrobaileya scandens, a perennial vine endemic to the Wet Tropics area of northeastern Queensland, Australia, and a member of the ancient angiosperm lineage, Austrobaileyales.

  • Developmental evolution of flowering plant pollen tube cell walls: callose synthase (CalS) gene expression patterns
    EvoDevo, 2011
    Co-Authors: Jason M Abercrombie, Brian C O'meara, Andrew R Moffatt, Joseph H Williams


    Background A number of innovations underlie the origin of rapid reproductive cycles in angiosperms. A critical early step involved the modification of an ancestrally short and slow-growing pollen tube for faster and longer distance transport of sperm to egg. Associated with this shift are the predominantly callose (1,3-β-glucan) walls and septae (callose plugs) of angiosperm pollen tubes. Callose synthesis is mediated by callose synthase (CalS). Of 12 CalS gene family members in Arabidopsis , only one ( CalS5 ) has been directly linked to pollen tube callose. CalS5 orthologues are present in several monocot and eudicot genomes, but little is known about the evolutionary origin of CalS5 or what its ancestral function may have been. Results We investigated expression of CalS in pollen and pollen tubes of selected non-flowering seed plants (gymnosperms) and angiosperms within lineages that diverged below the monocot/eudicot node. First, we determined the nearly full length coding sequence of a CalS5 orthologue from Cabomba caroliniana ( CcCalS5 ) (Nymphaeales). Semi-quantitative RT-PCR demonstrated low CcCalS5 expression within several vegetative tissues, but strong expression in mature pollen. CalS transcripts were detected in pollen tubes of several species within Nymphaeales and Austrobaileyales, and comparative analyses with a phylogenetically diverse group of sequenced genomes indicated homology to CalS5 . We also report in silico evidence of a putative CalS5 orthologue from Amborella . Among gymnosperms, CalS5 transcripts were recovered from germinating pollen of Gnetum and Ginkgo , but a novel CalS paralog was instead amplified from germinating pollen of Pinus taeda . Conclusion The finding that CalS5 is the predominant callose synthase in pollen tubes of both early-diverging and model system angiosperms is an indicator of the homology of their novel callosic pollen tube walls and callose plugs. The data suggest that CalS5 had transient expression and pollen-specific functions in early seed plants and was then recruited to novel expression patterns and functions within pollen tube walls in an ancestor of extant angiosperms.

William E Friedman – 2nd expert on this subject based on the ideXlab platform

  • Prolonged embryogenesis in Austrobaileya scandens (Austrobaileyaceae): its ecological and evolutionary significance
    New Phytologist, 2017
    Co-Authors: Juan M. Losada, Julien B. Bachelier, William E Friedman


    The embryology of basal angiosperm lineages (Amborella, Nymphaeales and Austrobaileyales) is central to reconstructing the early evolution of flowering plants. Previous studies have shown that mature seeds in Austrobaileyales are albuminous, with a small embryo surrounded by a substantial diploid endosperm. However, little is known of seed ontogeny and seedling germination in Austrobaileya scandens, sister to all other extant Austrobaileyales.
    Standard histochemical techniques were used to study ovule/seed development and germination of Austrobaileya.
    Early development of the endosperm in Austrobaileya is ab initio cellular with pronounced cell proliferation. The nucellus transiently accumulates some starch, but is obliterated by expansion of a massive endosperm, where all embryo-nourishing reserves are ultimately stored. Twelve months elapse from fertilization to fruit abscission. Seeds are dispersed with a minute embryo, requiring 12 additional months for seedling establishment.
    The 2 yr required for seedling establishment is an apomorphic feature of Austrobaileya, probably related to germination in extremely dark understory conditions. Remarkably, although Austrobaileya seeds are nearly 50 times larger (by length) than the smallest seeds of extinct and extant members of early divergent angiosperm lineages, the embryo to seed ratio (E : S) falls squarely within the narrow range that characterizes the albuminous seeds of ancient flowering plant lineages.

  • Seed development in Trimenia (Trimeniaceae) and its bearing on the evolution of embryo‐nourishing strategies in early flowering plant lineages
    American Journal of Botany, 2013
    Co-Authors: William E Friedman, Julien B. Bachelier


    Seeds of most families in the ancient angiosperm lineage Austrobaileyales produce a full-fledged genetically biparental embryo-nourishing endosperm. However, seeds of fossil and extant Trimeniaceae have been described as having a perisperm, a maternal nutrient-storing and embryo-nourishing tissue derived from the nucellus of the ovule. Because perisperm is also found in Nymphaeales, another ancient angiosperm clade, the presence of a perisperm in Trimeniaceae, if confirmed, would be congruent with the hypothesis that the first angiosperms used a perisperm in addition to a minute (nutrient-transferring) endosperm. •
    Seed development was studied from fertilization through maturity/dormancy in Trimenia moorei and in maturing fruits of T. neocaledonica. •
    A persistent layer of nucellar tissue surrounds the endosperm but does not contain stored nutrients and does not function as a perisperm. The nutrient-storing and embryo-nourishing tissue in Trimenia seeds is an endosperm, as is the case in all other members of the Austrobaileyales studied to date. •
    The absence of a perisperm and the presence of a typical nutrient-storing and embryo-nourishing endosperm in Trimeniaceae may represent the ancestral condition for angiosperms. However, the combination of a copious nutrient-storing and embryo-nourishing perisperm with a minute endosperm, as in Nymphaeales, remains a plausible plesiomorphic condition for angiosperms as a whole. In either case, the developmental and functional biology of the diploid endosperm of Trimenia (and other Austrobaileyales) differs markedly from the diploid endosperm of Nymphaeales, and is fundamentally similar to the triploid endosperms of most other angiosperms.

  • Female gamete competition in an ancient angiosperm lineage
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2011
    Co-Authors: Julien B. Bachelier, William E Friedman


    In Trimenia moorei, an extant member of the ancient angiosperm clade Austrobaileyales, we found a remarkable pattern of female gametophyte (egg-producing structure) development that strikingly resembles that of pollen tubes and their intrasexual competition within the maternal pollen tube transmitting tissues of most flowers. In contrast with most other flowering plants, in Trimenia, multiple female gametophytes are initiated at the base (chalazal end) of each ovule. Female gametophytes grow from their tips and compete over hundreds of micrometers to reach the apex of the nucellus and the site of fertilization. Here, the successful female gametophyte will mate with a pollen tube to produce an embryo and an endosperm. Moreover, the central tissue within the ovules of Trimenia, through which the embryo sacs grow, contains starch and other carbohydrates similar to the pollen tube transmitting tissues in the styles of most flowers. The pattern of female gametophyte development found in Trimenia is rare but by no means unique in angiosperms. Importantly, it seems that multiple female gametophytes are occasionally or frequently initiated in members of other ancient angiosperm lineages. The intensification of pollen tube (male gametophyte) competition and enhanced maternal selection among competing pollen tubes are considered to have been major contributors to the rise of angiosperms. Based on insights from Trimenia, we posit that prefertilization female gametophyte (egg) competition within individual ovules in addition to male gametophyte (sperm) competition and maternal mate choice may have been key features of the earliest angiosperms.

Peter K. Endress – 3rd expert on this subject based on the ideXlab platform

  • Ancestral traits and specializations in the flowers of the basal grade of living angiosperms
    Taxon, 2015
    Co-Authors: Peter K. Endress, James A. Doyle


    © International Association for Plant Taxonomy (IAPT) 2015. New morphological and phylogenetic data prompt us to present an updated review of floral morphology and its evolution in the basal ANITA grade of living angiosperms, Chloranthaceae, and Ceratophyllum. Floral phyllotaxis is complex whorled in Nymphaeales and spiral in Amborella and Austrobaileyales. It is unresolved whether phyllotaxis was ancestrally whorled or spiral, but if it was whorled, the whorls were trimerous. The flowers are probably ancestrally bisexual because in most families with unisexual flowers these flowers exhibit rudiments of the opposite sex. Carpels are largely ascidiate and the closure line is short, either transverse or longitudinal. A style is usually absent or, if present, generally short and not plicate. Angiospermy (carpel sealing) is by secretion, rather than postgenital fusion, except in large-flowered Nymphaeales and in Illicium, correlated with unusual fruits. Carpels with a single, median, pendent ovule are probably plesiomorphic. Chloranthaceae and Ceratophyllaceae have an unsettled phylogenetic position, but in some phylogenetic analyses they form a clade, which may be sister to the remaining mesangiosperms (Magnoliidae, monocots, eudicots). This position is supported by their carpel characters, which are similar to those of the ANITA grade and different from those of most other mesangiosperms.

  • Integrating Early Cretaceous Fossils into the Phylogeny of Living Angiosperms: ANITA Lines and Relatives of Chloranthaceae
    International Journal of Plant Sciences, 2014
    Co-Authors: James A. Doyle, Peter K. Endress


    Premise of research. Discoveries of fossil flowers in Cretaceous rocks offer improved evidence for relationships with living clades, but for more secure inferences formal phylogenetic analyses are desirable. We extend previous analyses of magnoliids, monocots, and basal eudicots to Aptian, Albian, and Cenomanian fossils related to the basal “ANITA” lines and Chloranthaceae.Methodology. We performed parsimony analyses of a morphological data set of Recent angiosperms and published fossils, with the arrangement of Recent taxa constrained to backbone trees based primarily on molecular data.Pivotal results. Not only Monetianthus (as previously inferred) but also Carpestella is nested within Nymphaeaceae, while Pluricarpellatia may be a stem relative of Cabombaceae or Nymphaeaceae. Anacostia (with Similipollis pollen) is nested within Austrobaileyales. The position of Couperites (with Clavatipollenites pollen) is ambiguous: it may be on the stem lineage of Chloranthaceae (and Ceratophyllum, if this extant aqua…

  • structure of the unusual explosive fruits of the early diverging angiosperm illicium schisandraceae s l Austrobaileyales
    Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2013
    Co-Authors: Mikhail S Romanov, Alexey Ch V F Bobrov, Peter K. Endress


    All Illicium spp. have explosive fruits, which is a unique character among the basal grade of angiosperms. Illicium fruits consist of several ventrally dehiscing follicles developing from conduplicate carpels, with a prominent, slightly postgenitally fused ventral slit. The closure of the ventral slit is also secured by two mirror-symmetrical massive longitudinal sclerenchymatous bands in the mesocarp along the edges and by turgor pressure. The pericarp differentiates into a fleshy (or coriaceous) peripheral zone (exocarp and mesocarp) with numerous ethereal-oil-containing cells and a sclerenchymatous (single-layered, palisade) inner zone (endocarp). Dehydration of the fleshy zone of the pericarp and partial compression of the epidermal sclereids with U-shaped wall thickenings lining the ventral suture are instrumental in explosive fruitlet dehiscence. Generally, the fruit structure of Illicium differs dramatically from those in other early diverging angiosperms. Gynoecium and fruit structure (and a probable early Cretaceous divergence from the Schisandra-Kadsura clade) provide evidence for treatment of Illicium as separate from Schisandraceae s.s. © 2013 The Linnean Society of London, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2013, 171, 640–654.