Characterisation of detergent-insoluble membranes in pollen tubes of Nicotiana tabacum (L.).
ABSTRACT: Pollen tubes are the vehicle for sperm cell delivery to the embryo sac during fertilisation of Angiosperms. They provide an intriguing model for unravelling mechanisms of growing to extremes. The asymmetric distribution of lipids and proteins in the pollen tube plasma membrane modulates ion fluxes and actin dynamics and is maintained by a delicate equilibrium between exocytosis and endocytosis. The structural constraints regulating polarised secretion and asymmetric protein distribution on the plasma membrane are mostly unknown. To address this problem, we investigated whether ordered membrane microdomains, namely membrane rafts, might contribute to sperm cell delivery. Detergent insoluble membranes, rich in sterols and sphingolipids, were isolated from tobacco pollen tubes. MALDI TOF/MS analysis revealed that actin, prohibitins and proteins involved in methylation reactions and in phosphoinositide pattern regulation are specifically present in pollen tube detergent insoluble membranes. Tubulins, voltage-dependent anion channels and proteins involved in membrane trafficking and signalling were also present. This paper reports the first evidence of membrane rafts in Angiosperm pollen tubes, opening new perspectives on the coordination of signal transduction, cytoskeleton dynamics and polarised secretion.
Project description:Sexual reproduction in higher plants relies upon the polarised growth of pollen tubes. The growth-site at the pollen tube tip responds to signalling processes to successfully steer the tube to an ovule. Essential features of pollen tube growth are polarisation of ion fluxes, intracellular ion gradients, and oscillating dynamics. However, little is known about how these features are generated and how they are causally related. We propose that ion dynamics in biological systems should be studied in an integrative and self-regulatory way. Here we have developed a two-compartment model by integrating major ion transporters at both the tip and shank of pollen tubes. We demonstrate that the physiological features of polarised growth in the pollen tube can be explained by the localised distribution of transporters at the tip and shank. Model analysis reveals that the tip and shank compartments integrate into a self-regulatory dynamic system, however the oscillatory dynamics at the tip do not play an important role in maintaining ion gradients. Furthermore, an electric current travelling along the pollen tube contributes to the regulation of ion dynamics. Two candidate mechanisms for growth-induced oscillations are proposed: the transition of tip membrane into shank membrane, and growth-induced changes in kinetic parameters of ion transporters. The methodology and principles developed here are applicable to the study of ion dynamics and their interactions with other functional modules in any plant cellular system.
Project description:The precise delivery of male to female gametes during reproduction in eukaryotes requires complex signal exchanges and a flawless communication between male and female tissues. In angiosperms, molecular mechanisms have recently been revealed that are crucial for the dialog between male (pollen tube) and female gametophytes required for successful sperm delivery. When pollen tubes reach the female gametophyte, they arrest growth, burst and discharge their sperm cells. These processes are under the control of the female gametophyte via the receptor-like serine-threonine kinase (RLK) FERONIA (FER). However, the male signaling components that control the sperm delivery remain elusive. Here, we show that ANXUR1 and ANXUR2 (ANX1, ANX2), which encode the closest homologs of the FER-RLK in Arabidopsis, are preferentially expressed in pollen. Moreover, ANX1-YFP and ANX2-YFP fusion proteins display polar localization to the plasma membrane at the tip of the pollen tube. Finally, genetic analyses demonstrate that ANX1 and ANX2 function redundantly to control the timing of pollen tube discharge as anx1 anx2 double-mutant pollen tubes cease their growth and burst in vitro and fail to reach the female gametophytes in vivo. We propose that ANX-RLKs constitutively inhibit pollen tube rupture and sperm discharge at the tip of growing pollen tubes to sustain their growth within maternal tissues until they reach the female gametophytes. Upon arrival, the female FER-dependent signaling cascade is activated to mediate pollen tube reception and fertilization, while male ANX-dependent signaling is deactivated, enabling the pollen tube to rupture and deliver its sperm cells to effect fertilization.
Project description:In flowering plants, immotile sperm cells develop within the pollen grain and are delivered to female gametes by a pollen tube. Upon arrival at the female gametophyte, the pollen tube stops growing and releases sperm cells for successful fertilization. Several female signaling components essential for pollen tube reception have been identified; however, male components remain unknown. We show that the expression of three closely related MYB transcription factors is induced in pollen tubes by growth in the pistil. Pollen tubes lacking these three transcriptional regulators fail to stop growing in synergids, specialized cells flanking the egg cell that attract pollen tubes and degenerate upon pollen tube arrival. myb triple-mutant pollen tubes also fail to release their sperm cargo. We define a suite of pollen tube-expressed genes regulated by these critical MYBs and identify transporters, carbohydrate-active enzymes, and small peptides as candidate molecular mediators of pollen tube-female interactions necessary for flowering plant reproduction. Our data indicate that de novo transcription in the pollen tube nucleus during growth in the pistil leads to pollen tube differentiation required for release of sperm cells.
Project description:BET11 and 12 are required for pollen tube elongation. Pollen tubes are rapidly growing specialized structures that elongate in a polar manner. They play a crucial role in the delivery of sperm cells through the stylar tissues of the flower and into the embryo sac, where the sperm cells are released to fuse with the egg cell and the central cell to give rise to the embryo and the endosperm. Polar growth at the pollen tube tip is believed to result from secretion of materials by membrane trafficking mechanisms. In this study, we report the functional characterization of Arabidopsis BET11 and BET12, two genes that may code for Qc-SNAREs (soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptors). Double mutants (bet11/bet12) in a homozygous/heterozygous background showed reduced transmission of the mutant alleles, reduced fertilization of seeds, defective embryo development, reduced pollen tube lengths and formation of secondary pollen tubes. Both BET11 and BET12 are required for fertility and development of pollen tubes in Arabidopsis. More experiments are required to dissect the mechanisms involved.
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 are used as models in studies on the type of tip-growth in plants. They are an example of polarised and rapid growth because pollen tubes are able to quickly invade the flower pistil in order to accomplish fertilisation. How different ionic fluxes are perceived, processed or generated in the pollen tube is still not satisfactorily understood. In order to measure the H+, K+, Ca2+ and Cl- fluxes of a single pollen tube, we developed an Electrical Lab on a Photovoltaic-Chip (ELoPvC) on which the evolving cell was immersed in an electrolyte of a germination medium. Pollen from Hyacinthus orientalis L. was investigated ex vivo. We observed that the growing cell changed the (redox) potential in the medium in a periodic manner. This subtle measurement was feasible due to the effects that were taking place at the semiconductor-liquid interface. The experiment confirmed the existence of the ionic oscillations that accompany the periodic extension of pollen tubes, thereby providing - in a single run - the complete discrete frequency spectrum and phase relationships of the ion gradients and fluxes, while all of the metabolic and enzymatic functions of the cell life cycle were preserved. Furthermore, the global 1/f? characteristic of the power spectral density, which corresponds to the membrane channel noise, was found.
Project description:Nicotiana alata pollen tubes are a widely used model for studies of polarized tip growth and cell wall synthesis in plants. To better understand these processes, RNA-Seq and de novo assembly methods were used to produce a transcriptome of N. alata pollen grains. Notable in the reconstructed transcriptome were sequences encoding proteins that are involved in the synthesis and remodelling of xyloglucan, a cell wall polysaccharide previously not thought to be deposited in Nicotiana pollen tube walls. Expression of several xyloglucan-related genes in actively growing pollen tubes was confirmed and xyloglucan epitopes were detected in the wall with carbohydrate-specific antibodies: the major xyloglucan oligosaccharides found in N. alata pollen grains and tubes were fucosylated, an unusual structure for the Solanaceae, the family to which Nicotiana belongs. Finally, carbohydrate linkages consistent with xyloglucan were identified chemically in the walls of N. alata pollen grains and pollen tubes grown in culture. The presence of a fucosylated xyloglucan in Nicotiana pollen tube walls was thus confirmed. The consequences of this discovery to models of pollen tube growth dynamics and more generally to polarised tip-growing cells in plants are discussed.
Project description:Nuclear movement and positioning play a role in developmental processes throughout life. Nuclear movement and positioning are mediated primarily by linker of nucleoskeleton and cytoskeleton (LINC) complexes. LINC complexes are comprised of the inner nuclear membrane SUN proteins and the outer nuclear membrane (ONM) KASH proteins. In Arabidopsis pollen tubes, the vegetative nucleus (VN) maintains a fixed distance from the pollen tube tip during growth, and the VN precedes the sperm cells (SCs). In pollen tubes of <i>wit12</i> and <i>wifi</i>, mutants deficient in the ONM component of a plant LINC complex, the SCs precede the VN during pollen tube growth and the fixed VN distance from the tip is lost. Subsequently, pollen tubes frequently fail to burst upon reception. In this study, we sought to determine if the pollen tube reception defect observed in <i>wit12</i> and <i>wifi</i> is due to decreased sensitivity to reactive oxygen species (ROS). Here, we show that <i>wit12</i> and <i>wifi</i> are hyposensitive to exogenous H<sub>2</sub>O<sub>2</sub>, and that this hyposensitivity is correlated with decreased proximity of the VN to the pollen tube tip. Additionally, we report the first instance of nuclear Ca<sup>2+</sup> peaks in growing pollen tubes, which are disrupted in the <i>wit12</i> mutant. In the <i>wit12</i> mutant, nuclear Ca<sup>2+</sup> peaks are reduced in response to exogenous ROS, but these peaks are not correlated with pollen tube burst. This study finds that VN proximity to the pollen tube tip is required for both response to exogenous ROS, as well as internal nuclear Ca<sup>2+</sup> fluctuations.
Project description:Pollen tubes are an excellent system for studying the cellular dynamics and complex signaling pathways that coordinate polarized tip growth. Although several signaling mechanisms acting in the tip-growing pollen tube have been described, our knowledge on the subcellular and molecular events during pollen germination and growth site selection at the pollen plasma membrane is rather scarce. To simultaneously track germinating pollen from up to 12 genetically different plants we developed an inexpensive and easy mounting technique, suitable for every standard microscope setup. We performed high magnification live-cell imaging during Arabidopsis pollen activation, germination, and the establishment of pollen tube tip growth by using fluorescent marker lines labeling either the pollen cytoplasm, vesicles, the actin cytoskeleton or the sperm cell nuclei and membranes. Our studies revealed distinctive vesicle and F-actin polarization during pollen activation and characteristic growth kinetics during pollen germination and pollen tube formation. Initially, the germinating Arabidopsis pollen tube grows slowly and forms a uniform roundish bulge, followed by a transition phase with vesicles heavily accumulating at the growth site before switching to rapid tip growth. Furthermore, we found the two sperm cells to be transported into the pollen tube after the phase of rapid tip growth has been initiated. The method presented here is suitable to quantitatively study subcellular events during Arabidopsis pollen germination and growth, and for the detailed analysis of pollen mutants with respect to pollen polarization, bulging, or growth site selection at the pollen plasma membrane.
Project description:As a universal energy generation pathway utilizing carbon metabolism, glycolysis plays an important housekeeping role in all organisms. Pollen tubes expand rapidly via a mechanism of polarized growth, known as tip growth, to deliver sperm for fertilization. Here, we report a novel and surprising role of glycolysis in the regulation of growth polarity in Arabidopsis pollen tubes via impingement of Rho GTPase-dependent signaling. We identified a cytosolic phosphoglycerate kinase (pgkc-1) mutant with accelerated pollen germination and compromised pollen tube growth polarity. pgkc-1 mutation greatly diminished apical exocytic vesicular distribution of REN1 RopGAP (Rop GTPase activating protein), leading to ROP1 hyper-activation at the apical plasma membrane. Consequently, pgkc-1 pollen tubes contained higher amounts of exocytic vesicles and actin microfilaments in the apical region, and showed reduced sensitivity to Brefeldin A and Latrunculin B, respectively. While inhibition of mitochondrial respiration could not explain the pgkc-1 phenotype, the glycolytic activity is indeed required for PGKc function in pollen tubes. Moreover, the pgkc-1 pollen tube phenotype was mimicked by the inhibition of another glycolytic enzyme. These findings highlight an unconventional regulatory function for a housekeeping metabolic pathway in the spatial control of a fundamental cellular process.