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Development. 2000 Oct;127(20):4511-8.

Attractive and repulsive interactions between female and male gametophytes in Arabidopsis pollen tube guidance.

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  • 1Department of Botany, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Kitashirakawa-oiwake, Sakyo, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan.


Sexual reproduction in plants, unlike that of animals, requires the action of multicellular haploid gametophytes. The male gametophyte (pollen tube) is guided to a female gametophyte through diploid sporophytic cells in the pistil. While interactions between the pollen tube and diploid cells have been described, little is known about the intercellular recognition systems between the pollen tube and the female gametophyte. In particular, the mechanisms that enable only one pollen tube to interact with each female gametophyte, thereby preventing polysperm, are not understood. We isolated female gametophyte mutants named magatama (maa) from Arabidopsis thaliana by screening for siliques containing half the normal number of mature seeds. In maa1 and maa3 mutants, in which the development of the female gametophyte was delayed, pollen tube guidance was affected. Pollen tubes were directed to mutant female gametophytes, but they lost their way just before entering the micropyle and elongated in random directions. Moreover, the mutant female gametophytes attracted two pollen tubes at a high frequency. To explain the interaction between gametophytes, we propose a monogamy model in which a female gametophyte emits two attractants and prevents polyspermy. This prevention process by the female gametophyte could increase a plant's inclusive fitness by facilitating the fertilization of sibling female gametophytes. In addition, repulsion between pollen tubes might help prevent polyspermy. The reproductive isolations observed in interspecific crosses in Brassicaceae are also consistent with the monogamy model.

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