DELLA activity is required for successful pollen development in the Columbia ecotype of Arabidopsis

Andrew R.G. Plackett, Alison C. Ferguson, Stephen J. Powers, Aakriti Wanchoo-Kohli, Andrew L. Phillips, Zoe A. Wilson, Peter Hedden, Stephen G. Thomas*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)
103 Downloads (Pure)


Excessive gibberellin (GA) signalling, mediated through the DELLA proteins, has a negative impact on plant fertility. Loss of DELLA activity in the monocot rice (Oryza sativa) causes complete male sterility, but not in the dicot model Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) ecotype Landsberg erecta (Ler), in which DELLA function has been studied most extensively, leading to the assumption that DELLA activity is not essential for Arabidopsis pollen development. A novel DELLA fertility phenotype was identified in the Columbia (Col-0) ecotype that necessitates re-evaluation of the general conclusions drawn from Ler. Fertility phenotypes were compared between the Col-0 and Ler ecotypes under conditions of chemical and genetic GA overdose, including mutants in both ecotypes lacking the DELLA paralogues REPRESSOR OF ga1-3 (RGA) and GA INSENSITIVE (GAI). Ler displays a less severe fertility phenotype than Col-0 under GA treatment. Col-0 rga gai mutants, in contrast with the equivalent Ler phenotype, were entirely male sterile, caused by post-meiotic defects in pollen development, which were rescued by the reintroduction of DELLA into either the tapetum or developing pollen. We conclude that DELLA activity is essential for Arabidopsis pollen development. Differences between the fertility responses of Col-0 and Ler might be caused by differences in downstream signalling pathways or altered DELLA expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)825-836
Number of pages12
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number3
Early online date1 Nov 2013
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


  • Arabidopsis thaliana
  • Col-0
  • Ecotypic differences
  • Gibberellin
  • Ler
  • Male sterility
  • Pollen development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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