Publications (3)19.27 Total impact
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In flowering plants, sperm are transported inside pollen tubes to the female gametophyte for fertilization. The female gametophyte induces rupture of the penetrating pollen tube, resulting in sperm release and rendering them available for fertilization. Here we utilize the Arabidopsis FERONIA (FER) receptor kinase mutants, whose female gametophytes fail to induce pollen tube rupture, to decipher the molecular mechanism of this critical male-female interactive step. We show that FER controls the production of high levels of reactive oxygen species at the entrance to the female gametophyte to induce pollen tube rupture and sperm release. Pollen tube growth assays in vitro and in the pistil demonstrate that hydroxyl free radicals are likely the most reactive oxygen molecules, and they induce pollen tube rupture in a Ca(2+)-dependent process involving Ca(2+) channel activation. Our results provide evidence for a RHO GTPase-based signalling mechanism to mediate sperm release for fertilization in plants.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: RAC/ROPs are RHO-type GTPases and are known to play diverse signalling roles in plants. Cytoplasmic RAC/ROPs are recruited to the cell membrane and activated in response to extracellular signals perceived and mediated by cell surface-located signalling assemblies, transducing the signals to regulate cellular processes. More than any other cell types in plants, pollen tubes depend on continuous interactions with an extracellular environment produced by their surrounding tissues as they grow within the female organ pistil to deliver sperm to the female gametophyte for fertilization. We review studies on pollen tube growth that provide compelling evidence indicating that RAC/ROPs are crucial for regulating the cellular processes that underlie the polarized cell growth process. Efforts to identify cell surface regulators that mediate extracellular signals also point to RAC/ROPs being the molecular switches targeted by growth-regulating female factors for modulation to mediate pollination and fertilization. We discuss a large volume of work spanning more than two decades on a family of pollen-specific receptor kinases and some recent studies on members of the FERONIA family of receptor-like kinases (RLKs). The research described shows the crucial roles that two RLK families play in transducing signals from growth regulatory factors to the RAC/ROP switch at the pollen tube apex to mediate and target pollen tube growth to the female gametophyte and signal its disintegration to achieve fertilization once inside the female chamber.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The process of pollen germination and tube growth in the pistil involves a series of cell-cell interactions, some facilitating fertilization while others prohibiting pollen tube access to the female gametophyte, either because of incompatibility or as a result of mechanisms to avert polyspermy and to ensure reproductive success. Understanding pollen tube growth and guidance to the female gametophyte has long been a pursuit among plant biologists, and observations indicate that diverse strategies may be adopted by different plant species. Recent studies in Arabidopsis, maize, and Torenia fournieri suggest that low molecular weight secretory molecules probably play major roles in the short-range attraction of pollen tubes to the female gametophyte. The process of pollen tube growth in the pistil occurs beneath several cell layers so much of the information that conveys the intimate partnership between penetrating pollen tubes and the female tissues has come from fixed samples and observations of in vitro pollen tube growth responses to female factors. A unique glimpse of the in vivo pollen germination and tube growth process is provided here by intra-vital two-photon excitation (TPE) microscopy of pollinated Arabidopsis pistils that remained on intact plants. Further discoveries of critical factors of male or female origins and how they control the pollen tube growth and fertilization process will broaden our understanding of the common themes and diverse strategies that plants have evolved to ensure reproductive success. The advancement of imaging technology to monitor pollination and fertilization and the development of probes to monitor various aspects of the pollen tube growth process, including pollen intracellular dynamics, will allow us to superimpose details obtained from studying pollen tube growth in culture conditions to interpret and understand the in vivo events.
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst Center, Massachusetts, United States
- Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology