Nectaries and nectar have received much research attention for well over 200 years due to their central roles in plant-pollinator interactions. Despite this, only a few genes have demonstrated impacts on nectary development, and none have been reported to mediate de novo nectar production. This scarcity of information is largely due to the lack of a model that combines sizeable nectaries, and high levels of nectar production, along with suitable genomics resources. For example, even though Arabidopsis thaliana has been useful for developmental studies, it has been largely overlooked as a model for studying nectary function due to the small size of its flowers. However, Arabidopsis nectaries, along with those of related species, are quite operational and can be used to discern molecular mechanisms of nectary form and function. A current understanding of the machinery underlying nectary function in plants is briefly presented, with emphasis placed on the prospects of using Arabidopsis as a model for studying these processes.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Acknowledgments We apologize to the authors of many relevant articles not discussed earlier in this article due to space constraints. Thanks are given Mr. Jeffery Ruhlmann for providing the laser-scanning confocal microscopy image utilized herein and to Dr. Art Davis, University of Saskatchewan, for providing invaluable critical feedback on the manuscript. Portions of this work were previously unpublished and supported by funds from the United States Department of Agriculture (2006-35301-16887 to C·C.) and the National Science Foundation (0820730 to C·C.).
- Arabidopsis thaliana