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Cell. 1995 Aug 11;82(3):383-93.

A floral transmitting tissue-specific glycoprotein attracts pollen tubes and stimulates their growth.

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Department of Biology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8104, USA.


Pollen tubes elongate directionally in the extracellular matrix of pistil tissues to transport the male gametes from the apically located stigma to the basally located ovary for fertilization. The molecular mechanisms underlying directional pollen tube growth in the pistil are poorly understood. We have purified a glycoprotein, TTS, from tobacco stylar transmitting tissue, which supports pollen tube growth between the stigma and the ovary. TTS proteins belong to the arabinogalactan protein family, and they polymerize readily in vitro in a head-to-tail fashion into oligomeric forms. TTS proteins stimulate pollen tube growth in vitro and attract pollen tubes grown in a semi-in vivo culture system. In vivo, the pollen tube growth rate is reduced in transgenic plants that have significantly reduced levels of TTS proteins as a result of either antisense suppression or sense cosuppression. These results identify TTS protein as a pistil component that positively contributes to pollen tube growth.

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