Melina and Claus are happy to have been able to contribute to the work of their former postdoc colleague at Yale (and former Drosophilist), Anna Dobritsa from Columbus, Ohio.

Arabidopsis protein kinase D6PKL3 is involved in formation of distinct plasma-membrane aperture domains on the pollen surface.

Plant Cell

Byung Ha Lee, Zachary T. Weber, Melina Zourelidou, Brigitte T. Hofmeister, Robert J. Schmitz, Claus Schwechheimer, and Anna A. Dobritsa (2018). 

Certain regions on the surfaces of developing pollen grains exhibit very limited deposition of pollen wall exine. These regions give rise to pollen apertures, which are highly diverse in their patterns and specific for individual species. Arabidopsis thaliana pollen develops three equidistant longitudinal apertures. The precision of aperture formation suggests that, to create them, pollen employs robust mechanisms that generate distinct cellular domains. To identify players involved in this mechanism, we screened natural Arabidopsis accessions and discovered one accession, Martuba, whose apertures form abnormally due to the disruption of the protein kinase D6PKL3. During pollen development, D6PKL3 accumulates at the three plasma membrane domains underlying future aperture sites. Both D6PKL3 localization and aperture formation require kinase activity. Proper D6PKL3 localization is also dependent on a polybasic motif for phosphoinositide interactions, and we identified two phosphoinositides that are specifically enriched at the future aperture sites. The other known aperture factor, INAPERTURATE POLLEN1, fails to aggregate at the aperture sites in d6pkl3 mutants, changes its localization when D6PKL3 is mislocalized, and in turn, affects D6PKL3 localization. The discovery of aperture factors provides important insights into the mechanisms cells utilize to generate distinct membrane domains, develop cell polarity, and pattern their surfaces.