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Plant J. 2000 Apr;22(2):165-76.

A pollen tube growth-promoting arabinogalactan protein from nicotiana alata is similar to the tobacco TTS protein.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA.


Upon germination on the stigma, pollen tubes elongate in the stylar transmitting tract, aided by female factors, with speed and directionality not mimicked in in vitro pollen tube growth cultures. We have shown that a stylar transmitting tissue arabinogalactan protein (AGP) from Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco), TTS protein, stimulates pollen tube growth in vivo and in vitro and attracts pollen tubes grown in a semi-in vivo culture system. It has been reported that the self-incompatible Nicotiana alata produced a stylar glycoprotein, GaRSGP, which had a backbone polypeptide that shared 97% identity with those of TTS proteins but some of its properties were different from those described for TTS proteins. We report here the characterization of a family of stylar transmitting tissue glycoproteins from N. alata that is virtually identical to tobacco TTS proteins and which we refer to as NaTTS proteins. Like their tobacco counterparts, NaTTS proteins are recognized by the traditional AGP-diagnostic reagent beta-glucosyl Yariv reagent, and they are also recognized by JIM13, a monoclonal antibody against AGP. NaTTS proteins also stimulate pollen tube elongation in vitro and attract pollen tubes in a semi-in vivo pollen tube culture system. Biochemical and immunological characterization of NaTTS proteins revealed that they have extraordinary variability in the extent of sugar modifications of their polypeptide backbones. The extent of sugar modifications on NaTTS proteins significantly affects their biochemical properties, influences how they interact with the transmitting tissue extracellular matrix, and affects their solubility from this matrix. Our results suggest that the strategy used to purify GaRSGP only recovered a less glycosylated, more tightly extracellular matrix-bound sub-population of the entire spectrum of N. alata TTS proteins.

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