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Ann Bot. 2006 Jan;97(1):71-7. Epub 2005 Nov 16.

Mode of pollen-tube growth in Pistils of Myrica rubra (Myricaceae): a comparison with related families.

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1
Department of Botany, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND AIMS:

It is generally known that fertilization is delayed for more than a few weeks after pollination in Fagales. Recent studies showed that, during that period, pollen tubes grew in pistils in close association with the development of the ovule in a five-step process in Casuarina (Casuarinaceae) and a four-step process in Alnus (Betulaceae). The number of pollen tubes was reduced from many to one, a fact suggesting that delayed fertilization plays a role for gametophyte selection. Myrica (Myricaceae) also shows delayed fertilization for >2 weeks after pollination, but nothing is known of how pollen tubes grow in the pistil during that period.

METHODS:

Pollen-tube growth and the development of the ovule in pistils was investigated by fluorescent and scanning electron microscopy and analysis of microtome sections of the pistils.

KEY RESULTS:

Developmental study of the pollen-tube growth in the pistil of M. rubra showed that the tip of the pollen tube was branched or lay in a zigzag pattern in the upper space of the ovarian locule or near the tip of the integument, and subsequently was swollen on the nucellar surface. Such morphological changes indicate that the pollen-tube growth was temporarily arrested before fertilization. The pollen-tube growth in M. rubra can therefore be summarized as occurring in three steps: (1) from the stigma to the ovarian locule; (2) from the ovarian locule to the nucellar surface; and (3) from the nucellar surface to the embryo sac.

CONCLUSION:

Myrica differs from other families in that the pollen tubes arrest their growth on the nucellar surface, probably digesting nutrient from nucellar cells. There is little information on five other families of Fagales. An extensive study is needed to better understand the diversity and function of the mode of pollen-tube growth within the order.

PMID:
16291781
PMCID:
PMC2803377
DOI:
10.1093/aob/mcj015
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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