, Volume 199, Issue 2, pp 251-261

Localization of pectins and arabinogalactan-proteins in lily (Lilium longiflorum L.) pollen tube and style, and their possible roles in pollination

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In lily, adhesion of the pollen tube to the transmitting-tract epidermal cells (TTEs) is purported to facilitate the effective movement of the tube cell to the ovary. In this study, we examine the components of the extracellular matrices (ECMs) of the lily pollen tubes and TTEs that may be involved in this adhesion event. Several monoclonal antibodies to plant cell wall components such as esterified pectins, unesterified pectins, and arabinogalactan-proteins (AGPs) were used to localize these molecules in the lily pollen tube and style at both light microscope (LM) and transmission electron microscope (TEM) levels. In addition, (β-d-Glc)3 Yariv reagent which binds to AGPs was used to detect AGPs in the pollen tube and style. At the LM level, unesterified pectins were localized to the entire wall in in-vivo- and in-vitro-grown pollen tubes as well as to the surface of the stylar TTEs. Esterified pectins occurred at the tube tip region (with some differences in extent in in-vivo versus in-vitro tubes) and were evenly distributed in the entire style. At the TEM level, esterified pectins were detected inside pollen tube cell vesicles and unesterified pectins were localized to the pollen tube wall. The in-vivo pollen tubes adhere to each other and can be separated by pectinase treatment. At the LM level, AGP localization occurred in the tube tip of both in-vivo- and in-vitro-grown pollen tubes and, in the case of one AGP probe, on the surface of the TTEs. Another AGP probe localized to every cell of the style except the surface of the TTE. At the TEM level, AGPs were mainly found on the plasma membrane and vesicle membranes of in-vivo-grown pollen tubes as well as on the TTE surface, with some localization to the adhesion zone between pollen tubes and style. (β-d-Glc)3 Yariv reagent bound to the in-vitro-grown pollen tube tip and significantly reduced the growth of both in-vitro- and in-vivo-grown pollen tubes. This led to abnormal expansion of the tube tip and random deposition of callose. These effects could be overcome by removal of (β-d-Glc)3 Yariv reagent which resulted in new tube tip growth zones emerging from the flanks of the arrested tube tip. The possible roles of pectins and AGPs in adhesion during pollination and pollen tube growth are discussed.

The authors thank Michael Georgiady for assistance with the preparation of material for the TEM immunolocalization, Diana Dang for her help with the pectinase experiment, and Kathleen Eckard for assistance in all aspects of this study. The MAbs were the generous gifts of Dr. J.P. Knox. G.Y. Jauh thanks Dr. E.A. Nothnagel for assistance in making the Yariv reagent and for the gift of the control (β-d-Man)3 Yariv reagent. This work is in partial fulfilment of the dissertation requirements for a PhD degree in Botany and Plant Sciences for G.Y. Jauh at the University of California, Riverside. This work was supported by National Science Foundation grant 91-18554 and an R.E.U. grant to E.M.L.