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Dev Cell. 2013 May 13;25(3):317-23. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2013.03.013.

Independent control by each female gamete prevents the attraction of multiple pollen tubes.

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Division of Biological Science, Graduate School of Science, Nagoya University, Furo-cho, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya, Aichi 464-8602, Japan.


In flowering plants, double fertilization is normally accomplished by the first pollen tube, with the fertilized ovule subsequently inhibiting the attraction of a second pollen tube. However, the mechanism of second-pollen-tube avoidance remains unknown. We discovered that failure to fertilize either the egg cell or the central cell compromised second-pollen-tube avoidance in Arabidopsis thaliana. A similar disturbance was caused by disrupting the fertilization-independent seed (FIS) class polycomb-repressive complex 2 (FIS-PRC2), a central cell- and endosperm-specific chromatin-modifying complex for gene silencing. Therefore, the two female gametes have evolved their own signaling pathways. Intriguingly, second-pollen-tube attraction induced by half-successful fertilization allowed the ovules to complete double fertilization, producing a genetically distinct embryo and endosperm. We thus propose that each female gamete independently determines second-pollen-tube avoidance to maximize reproductive fitness in flowering plants.

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