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Plant Cell. 1999 Sep;11(9):1731-42.

Control of pollen tube tip growth by a Rop GTPase-dependent pathway that leads to tip-localized calcium influx.

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  • 1Department of Plant Biology, Plant Biotechnology Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.


We have shown that Rop1At, a pollen-specific Rop GTPase that is a member of the Rho family of small GTP binding proteins, acts as a key molecular switch controlling tip growth in Arabidopsis pollen tubes. Pollen-specific expression of constitutively active rop1at mutants induced isotropic growth of pollen tubes. Overexpression of wild-type Arabidopsis Rop1At led to ectopic accumulation of Rop1At in the plasma membrane at the tip and caused depolarization of pollen tube growth, which was less severe than that induced by the constitutively active rop1at. These results indicate that both Rop1At signaling and polar localization are critical for controlling the site of tip growth. Dominant negative rop1at mutants or antisense rop1at RNA inhibited tube growth at 0.5 mM extracellular Ca(2+), but growth inhibition was reversed by higher extracellular Ca(2+). Injection of anti-Rop antibodies disrupted the tip-focused intracellular Ca(2+) gradient known to be crucial for tip growth. These studies provide strong evidence for a Rop GTPase-dependent tip growth pathway that couples the control of growth sites with the rate of tip growth through the regulation of tip-localized extracellular Ca(2+) influxes and formation of the tip-high intracellular Ca(2+) gradient in pollen tubes.

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