Distinct short-range ovule signals attract or repel Arabidopsis thaliana pollen tubes in vitro.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Pollen tubes deliver sperm after navigating through flower tissues in response to attractive and repulsive cues. Genetic analyses in maize and Arabidopsis thaliana and cell ablation studies in Torenia fournieri have shown that the female gametophyte (the 7-celled haploid embryo sac within an ovule) and surrounding diploid tissues are essential for guiding pollen tubes to ovules. The variety and inaccessibility of these cells and tissues has made it challenging to characterize the sources of guidance signals and the dynamic responses they elicit in the pollen tubes. RESULTS: Here we developed an in vitro assay to study pollen tube guidance to excised A. thaliana ovules. Using this assay we discerned the temporal and spatial regulation and species-specificity of late stage guidance signals and characterized the dynamics of pollen tube responses. We established that unfertilized A. thaliana ovules emit diffusible, developmentally regulated, species-specific attractants, and demonstrated that ovules penetrated by pollen tubes rapidly release diffusible pollen tube repellents. CONCLUSION: These results demonstrate that in vitro pollen tube guidance to excised A. thaliana ovules efficiently recapitulates much of in vivo pollen tube behaviour during the final stages of pollen tube growth. This assay will aid in confirming the roles of candidate guidance molecules, exploring the phenotypes of A. thaliana pollen tube guidance mutants and characterizing interspecies pollination interactions.
Project description:Genes directly involved in male/female and host/parasite interactions are believed to be under positive selection. The flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana has more than 300 defensin-like (DEFL) genes, which are likely to be involved in both natural immunity and cell-to-cell communication including pollen-pistil interactions. However, little is known of the relationship between the molecular evolution of DEFL genes and their functions. Here, we identified a recently evolved cluster of DEFL genes in A. thaliana and demonstrated that these DEFL (cysteine-rich peptide [CRP810_1]) peptides, named AtLURE1 peptides, are pollen tube attractants guiding pollen tubes to the ovular micropyle. The AtLURE1 genes formed the sole species-specific cluster among DEFL genes compared to its close relative, A. lyrata. No evidence for positive selection was detected in AtLURE1 genes and their orthologs, implying neutral evolution of AtLURE1 genes. AtLURE1 peptides were specifically expressed in egg-accompanying synergid cells and secreted toward the funicular surface through the micropyle. Genetic analyses showed that gametophytic mutants defective in micropylar guidance (myb98, magatama3, and central cell guidance) do not express AtLURE1 peptides. Downregulation of the expression of these peptides impaired precise pollen tube attraction to the micropylar opening of some populations of ovules. Recombinant AtLURE1 peptides attracted A. thaliana pollen tubes at a higher frequency compared to A. lyrata pollen tubes, suggesting that these peptides are species-preferential attractants in micropylar guidance. In support of this idea, the heterologous expression of a single AtLURE1 peptide in the synergid cell of Torenia fournieri was sufficient to guide A. thaliana pollen tubes to the T. fournieri embryo sac and to permit entry into it. Our results suggest the unique evolution of AtLURE1 genes, which are directly involved in male-female interaction among the DEFL multigene family, and furthermore suggest that these peptides are sufficient to overcome interspecific barriers in gametophytic attraction and penetration.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND AIMS: During sexual reproduction in higher angiosperms, the pollen tubes are directed to the ovules in the pistil to deliver sperm cells. This pollen tube attraction is highly species specific, and a group of small secreted proteins, TfCRPs, are necessary for this process in Torenia fournieri. METHODS: A candidate pollen tube attractant protein in Torenia concolor, a related species of T. fournieri, was isolated and the attractant abilities between them were compared. KEY RESULTS: TcCRP1, an orthologous gene of TfCRP1 from T. concolor, is expressed predominantly in the synergid cell. The gene product attracted pollen tubes in a concentration-dependent manner, but attracted fewer pollen tubes from the other species. CONCLUSIONS: The results indicated that this class of CRP proteins is a common pollen tube attractant in Torenia species. The sequence diversity of these proteins is important for species-specific pollen tube attraction.
Project description:During plant reproduction, sperm cells are delivered to ovules through growing pollen tubes. This process involves tip-localized receptor kinases regulating integrity and/or guidance of pollen tubes, whose localizations must be strictly regulated. However, the molecular basis for tip-localization of these molecules remains largely elusive. Here we show that a pair of AP180 N-terminal homology domain-containing proteins, PICALM5a and PICALM5b, is responsible for the tip-localization of ANXUR receptor kinases acting in an autocrine signaling pathway required for pollen tube integrity in Arabidopsis thaliana. The picalm5a picalm5b double mutant exhibits reduced fertility, and the double mutant pollen is defective in pollen tube integrity with premature bursts. The tip localization of ANXUR proteins is severely impaired in picalm5a picalm5b pollen tubes, whereas another receptor kinase PRK6 acting in pollen tube guidance is not affected. Based on these results, we propose that PICALM5 proteins serve as specific loading adaptors to recycle ANXUR proteins.
Project description:In alders, where fertilization occurs approximately 8 weeks after pollination, the pollen tube (male gametophyte) grows intermittently in four steps in close association with the development of the ovary and its ovules. Pollen tubes stop growing in the style, at the ovarian locule, and at the chalaza (ovule), before reaching an embryo sac for fertilization. At the stage when the ovary develops an ovule primordium in each of the two locules, many pollen tubes germinate on the stigma, and a few of them reach the style, where they remain for approximately 7 weeks. Thereafter, a single tube resumes growing; with a short stop in the upper space of the ovarian locule, it reaches the older of the two ovules when it has developed a two-nucleate embryo sac. Except in the last step, where the tube grows from the chalaza to an embryo sac (female gametophyte), an eight-nucleate mature embryo sac is not necessary for pollen-tube guidance in the pistil. Although the intermittent pollen-tube growth appears to play an important role in the selection of a single pollen tube from many and one ovule from two, its detection provides insight into the study of the mechanism of pollen-tube guidance.
Project description:In double fertilization, a reproductive system unique to flowering plants, two immotile sperm are delivered to an ovule by a pollen tube. One sperm fuses with the egg to generate a zygote, the other with the central cell to produce endosperm. A mechanism preventing multiple pollen tubes from entering an ovule would ensure that only two sperm are delivered to female gametes. We use live-cell imaging and a novel mixed-pollination assay that can detect multiple pollen tubes and multiple sets of sperm within a single ovule to show that Arabidopsis efficiently prevents multiple pollen tubes from entering an ovule. However, when gamete-fusion defective hap2(gcs1) or duo1 sperm are delivered to ovules, as many as three additional pollen tubes are attracted. When gamete fusion fails, one of two pollen tube-attracting synergid cells persists, enabling the ovule to attract more pollen tubes for successful fertilization. This mechanism prevents the delivery of more than one pair of sperm to an ovule, provides a means of salvaging fertilization in ovules that have received defective sperm, and ensures maximum reproductive success by distributing pollen tubes to all ovules.
Project description:Pollen tubes extend through pistil tissues and are guided to ovules where they release sperm for fertilization. Although pollen tubes can germinate and elongate in a synthetic medium, their trajectory is random and their growth rates are slower compared to growth in pistil tissues. Furthermore, interaction with the pistil renders pollen tubes competent to respond to guidance cues secreted by specialized cells within the ovule. The molecular basis for this potentiation of the pollen tube by the pistil remains uncharacterized. Using microarray analysis in Arabidopsis, we show that pollen tubes that have grown through stigma and style tissues of a pistil have a distinct gene expression profile and express a substantially larger fraction of the Arabidopsis genome than pollen grains or pollen tubes grown in vitro. Genes involved in signal transduction, transcription, and pollen tube growth are overrepresented in the subset of the Arabidopsis genome that is enriched in pistil-interacted pollen tubes, suggesting the possibility of a regulatory network that orchestrates gene expression as pollen tubes migrate through the pistil. Reverse genetic analysis of genes induced during pollen tube growth identified seven that had not previously been implicated in pollen tube growth. Two genes are required for pollen tube navigation through the pistil, and five genes are required for optimal pollen tube elongation in vitro. Our studies form the foundation for functional genomic analysis of the interactions between the pollen tube and the pistil, which is an excellent system for elucidation of novel modes of cell-cell interaction.
Project description:Pollen tubes are used as a model in the study of plant morphogenesis, cellular differentiation, cell wall biochemistry, biomechanics, and intra- and intercellular signaling. For a "systems-understanding" of the bio-chemo-mechanics of tip-polarized growth in pollen tubes, the need for a versatile, experimental assay platform for quantitative data collection and analysis is critical. We introduce a Lab-on-a-Chip (LoC) concept for high-throughput pollen germination and pollen tube guidance for parallelized optical and mechanical measurements. The LoC localizes a large number of growing pollen tubes on a single plane of focus with unidirectional tip-growth, enabling high-resolution quantitative microscopy. This species-independent LoC platform can be integrated with micro-/nano-indentation systems, such as the cellular force microscope (CFM) or the atomic force microscope (AFM), allowing for rapid measurements of cell wall stiffness of growing tubes. As a demonstrative example, we show the growth and directional guidance of hundreds of lily (Lilium longiflorum) and Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) pollen tubes on a single LoC microscopy slide. Combining the LoC with the CFM, we characterized the cell wall stiffness of lily pollen tubes. Using the stiffness statistics and finite-element-method (FEM)-based approaches, we computed an effective range of the linear elastic moduli of the cell wall spanning the variability space of physiological parameters including internal turgor, cell wall thickness, and tube diameter. We propose the LoC device as a versatile and high-throughput phenomics platform for plant reproductive and development biology using the pollen tube as a model.
Project description:Successful fertilization in angiosperms depends on the proper trajectory of pollen tubes through the pistil tissues to reach the ovules. Pollen tubes first grow within the cell wall of the papilla cells, applying pressure to the cell. Mechanical forces are known to play a major role in plant cell shape by controlling the orientation of cortical microtubules (CMTs), which in turn mediate deposition of cellulose microfibrils (CMFs). Here, by combining imaging, genetic and chemical approaches, we show that isotropic reorientation of CMTs and CMFs in aged Col-0 and katanin1-5 (ktn1-5) papilla cells is accompanied by a tendency of pollen tubes to coil around the papillae. We show that this coiled phenotype is associated with specific mechanical properties of the cell walls that provide less resistance to pollen tube growth. Our results reveal an unexpected role for KTN1 in pollen tube guidance on the stigma by ensuring mechanical anisotropy of the papilla cell wall.
Project description:Pollen biology in P. aphrodite. Orchids have a distinct reproductive program. Pollination triggers ovule development and differentiation within flowers, and fertilization occurs days to months after pollination. It is unclear how pollen tubes travel through the developing ovaries during ovule development and when pollen tubes arrive at the mature embryo sac to achieve fertilization. Here, we report a robust staining protocol to image and record the timing of pollen germination, progressive growth of pollen tubes in ovaries, and arrival of pollen tubes at embryo sacs in Phalaenopsis aphrodite. The pollen germinated and pollen tubes entered the ovary 3 days after pollination. Pollen tubes continued to grow and filled the entire cavity of the ovary as the ovary elongated and ovules developed. Pollen tubes were found to enter the matured embryo sacs at approximately 60-65 days after pollination in an acropetal manner. Moreover, these temporal changes in developmental events such as growth of pollen tubes and fertilization were associated with expression of molecular markers. In addition, we developed an in vitro pollen germination protocol, which is valuable to enable studies on pollen tube guidance and tip growth regulation in Phalaenopsis orchids and possibly in other orchid species.
Project description:In angiosperms, pollen tubes carry two sperm cells toward the egg and central cells to complete double fertilization. In animals, not only sperm but also seminal plasma is required for proper fertilization. However, little is known regarding the function of pollen tube content (PTC), which is analogous to seminal plasma. We report that the PTC plays a vital role in the prefertilization state and causes an enlargement of ovules without fertilization. We termed this phenomenon as pollen tube-dependent ovule enlargement morphology and placed it between pollen tube guidance and double fertilization. Additionally, PTC increases endosperm nuclei without fertilization when combined with autonomous endosperm mutants. This finding could be applied in agriculture, particularly in enhancing seed formation without fertilization in important crops.