Sharon Kessler

  • Oct 15, 2018
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Date & Location: October 15, 2018, at 4p; Room 1200 Molecular Plant Sciences Building

Talk focus: Female control of reproductive success in Arabidopsis thaliana

Host: Beronda Montgomery

About the Speaker

University: Purdue University

Research Interests: Dr. Kessler’s research explores the molecular mechanisms behind plant reproduction. In angiosperms, successful pollination depends on intercellular communication between the male gametophyte (also known as the pollen tube) and female cells as the pollen lands on the stigma and sends out a pollen tube that travels through the transmitting tract of the style to reach the ovary. The synergid cells of the female gametophyte (also known as the embryo sac) emit signals to attract pollen tubes and then communicate with the pollen tubes so that they know when to cease tip growth and burst to release the sperm cells so that double fertilization can occur to produce viable seeds. This process is known as pollen tube reception and is the main focus of the Kessler Lab. The lab's studies with the Arabidopsis thaliana MLO protein NORTIA and the receptor-like kinase FERONIA have shown that pollen tube reception and powdery mildew infection may use similar molecular mechanisms. They are using NORTIA as an anchor molecule to learn more about the intricate signaling mechanism that takes place in the ~30-minute “communication phase” when the pollen tube arrives at the ovule and prepares to release the sperm cells.