The Roberts lab, with former post doc Pratyush Routray as first author, published Nodulin Intrinsic Protein 7;1 is a Tapetal Boric Acid Channel Involved in Pollen Cell Wall Formation in the journal Plant Physiology. The work describes a developmentally regulated aquaporin-like protein, NIP7;1, that is specifically expressed in the tapetum of developing floral anthers in all angiosperm lineages. Biochemically, they show that the protein encodes a boric acid permease with unique pore gating properties that regulate the formation of the Rhamnogalacturonan (RG) II pectic cell wall. Genetically, they show that the protein is essential for male fertility and proper pollen exine cell wall development during male gametogenesis.
The article was featured in On the Inside in the November Plant Physiology Issue, as well as on What We’re Reading on the Plantae Website.