Pollen acts as a biological protector of male sperm and is covered by an outer cell wall polymer called the exine, which consists of durable sporopollenin. Despite the astonishingly divergent structure of the exine across taxa, the developmental processes of its formation surprisingly do not vary, which suggests the preservation of a common molecular mechanism. The precise molecular mechanisms underlying pollen exine patterning remain highly elusive, but they appear to be dependent on at least three major developmental processes: primexine formation, callose wall formation, and sporopollenin synthesis. Several lines of evidence suggest that the sporopollenin is built up via catalytic enzyme reactions in the tapetum, and both the primexine and callose wall provide an efficient substructure for sporopollenin deposition. Herein, we review the currently accepted understanding of the molecular regulation of sporopollenin biosynthesis and examine unanswered questions regarding the requirements underpinning proper exine pattern formation, as based on genetic evidence.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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