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  • Author or Editor: Ruili Li x
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Anthers contain starch and neutral lipids, which have key roles in microspore ontogeny and gametophyte development. In this study, we observed the dynamic changes in starch and neutral lipids in the anther developmental processes of castor (Ricinus communis) by cytochemical methods. Starch grains and neutral lipids presented a regular dynamic distribution during anther development. In young anthers, some neutral lipids accumulated in sporogenous cells, whereas neutral lipids disappeared with microspore growth. At the late microspore stage, starch grains began to accumulate in microspores, and the starch content of bicellular pollen significantly increased after microspore mitosis. At anthesis, starch grains and neutral lipids accumulated in the mature pollen grains. Visible changes occurred in anther wall cells. The epidermis, middle layer, and tapetum were degenerated, and only a single layer of endothecium remained at anthesis. The dynamic variation of starch grains and neutral lipids in tapetal cells was consistent with the changes in microspores and pollen during anther development. All these findings demonstrated that tapetal cells directly interacted with the developing gametophytes. The tapetal cells play an important role in supplying nutritional substances for microspore absorption. Moreover, the endothecium protects the pollen and contributes to anther dehiscence. The results of this study provide a foundation for the further research on sexual reproduction in angiosperms.

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