, Volume 187, Issue 1-4, pp 155-167

Ion dynamics and its possible role during in vitro pollen germination and tube growth

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One of the most interesting aspects of plant fertilization is the growth and orientation of the pollen tube from the stigma to the ovary. Considerable research has been carried out in this field but little is yet known about the mechanisms involved in the growth process. Recent research has been focused on the regulation of molecular events in order to discover the specific genes involved in tube growth. Important results in the biochemical and physiological aspects of molecular regulation have been reported. The following review attempts to cover these aspects. It is primarily based on talks presented by the authors at the 13th International Congress on Sexual Plant Reproduction and is mainly addressed to non-experts in the fields of electrophysiology and ion signalling. We aim to present a general overview of electrical currents, ion dynamics, and ion transporters in pollen, and their possible role during pollen tube germination and growth. Together with results on other tip-growing cells, a general model of pollen tube germination and growth as a self-organizing process is proposed.