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Trends Plant Sci. 2011 Jul;16(7):353-5. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2011.03.010. Epub 2011 Apr 30.

Pollen tubes and the physical world.

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Hampshire College, School of Natural Science, Amherst, MA 01002, USA.


The primary goal of our previous opinion paper (Winship, L.J. et al. (2010) Trends Plant Sci. 15, 363-369) [1] was to put two models for the control of pollen tube growth on the same theoretical and biophysical footing, and to then test both for consistency with basic principles and with experimental data. Our central thesis, then and now, is that the biophysical and biochemical mechanisms that enable pollen tubes to grow and to respond to their environment evolved in a physical context constrained by known, inescapable principles. First, pressure is a scalar, not a vector quantity. Second, the water movement in and out of plant cells that generates pressure is passive, not active, and is controlled by differences in water potential. Here we respond to the issues raised by Zonia and Munnik (Trends Plant Sci. 2011; this issue) [2] in the light of new evidence concerning turgor pressure and pollen tube growth rates.

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