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Trends Plant Sci. 2009 Jun;14(6):318-27. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2009.03.008. Epub 2009 May 14.

Uncovering hidden treasures in pollen tube growth mechanics.

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Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, Plant Physiology Section, University of Amsterdam, Kruislaan 904, 1098 XH Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The long-standing model of tip growth in pollen tubes considers that exocytosis and growth occur at the apex and that the pool of very small vesicles in the apical dome contains secretory (exocytic) vesicles. However, recent work on vesicle trafficking dynamics in tobacco pollen tubes shows that exocytosis occurs in the subapical region. Taking these and other new results into account, we set out to resolve specific problems that are endemic in current models and present a two-part ACE (apical cap extension)-H (hydrodynamics) growth model. The ACE model involves delivery and recycling of materials required for new cell synthesis and the H model involves mechanisms that integrate and regulate key cellular pathways and drive cell elongation during growth.

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