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J Integr Plant Biol. 2015 Jan;57(1):79-92. doi: 10.1111/jipb.12315.

The pollen tube clear zone: clues to the mechanism of polarized growth.

Author information

1
Biology Department, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts, 01003, USA.

Abstract

Pollen tubes usually exhibit a prominent region at their apex called the "clear zone" because it lacks light refracting amyloplasts. A robust, long clear zone often associates with fast growing pollen tubes, and thus serves as an indicator of pollen tube health. Nevertheless we do not understand how it arises or how it is maintained. Here we review the structure of the clear zone, and attempt to explain the factors that contribute to its formation. While amyloplasts and vacuolar elements are excluded from the clear zone, virtually all other organelles are present including secretory vesicles, mitochondria, Golgi dictyosomes, and the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Secretory vesicles aggregate into an inverted cone appressed against the apical plasma membrane. ER elements move nearly to the extreme apex, whereas mitochondria and Golgi dictyosomes move less far forward. The cortical actin fringe assumes a central position in the control of clear zone formation and maintenance, given its role in generating cytoplasmic streaming. Other likely factors include the tip-focused calcium gradient, the apical pH gradient, the influx of water, and a host of signaling factors (small G-proteins). We think that the clear zone is an emergent property that depends on the interaction of several factors crucial for polarized growth.

KEYWORDS:

Actin; endoplasmic reticulum; myosin; polarized growth; pollen tube

PMID:
25431342
DOI:
10.1111/jipb.12315
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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