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Plant J. 2004 Jun;38(6):887-97.

Calmodulin activity and cAMP signalling modulate growth and apical secretion in pollen tubes.

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Departamento de Biologia Vegetal, Faculdade de Ciências de Lisboa, ICAT, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisbon, Portugal.


Our present understanding implicates both calmodulin (CaM) and 3',5'-cyclicAMP (cAMP) in the regulation of pollen tube growth. However, downstream molecules of these signalling pathways and the cellular processes they modulate remain largely unknown. In order to elucidate the role of CaM, we mapped its activity in growing pollen tubes. 2-chloro-(epsilon-amino-Lys(75))-[6-4-(N,N'-diethylaminophenyl)-1,3,5-triazin-4-yl]-calmodulin (TA-CaM) and fluorescein-calmodulin (FL-CaM), fluorescent analogues of CaM, were loaded into pollen tubes and CaM activity was mapped by fluorescence ratio imaging. It was found that CaM activity exhibits a tip-focused gradient, similar to the distribution of cytosolic-free calcium ([Ca(2+)](c)). In long pollen tubes, apical CaM activity was also found to oscillate with a period similar to [Ca(2+)](c) (40-80 sec). This oscillatory behaviour was not observed in small pollen tubes or in tubes that had stopped growing. Changes in CaM activity within the dome of the pollen tube apex resulting from the photolysis of caged photolysis of RS-20 (a peptide antagonist of CaM) induced re-orientation of the growth axis, suggesting that CaM is also involved in the guidance mechanism. CaM activity was strongly modulated by intracellular changes in cAMP (induced by activators and antagonists of adenylyl cyclase). These results indicate that the action of this protein is dependent not solely on [Ca(2+)](c) but also on a cross-talk with other signalling pathways. A putative target of this cross-talk is the secretory machinery as observed in pollen tubes loaded with the FM (N-(3-triethylammoniumpropyl)-4-(4-dibutylamino)styryl)pyridinium dibromide 1-43 dye and exposed to different antagonists and activators of these molecules. Our data thus suggest that pollen tube growth and orientation depend on an intricate cross-talk between multiple signalling pathways in which CaM is a key element.

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