, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 347-357

Optimization of conditions for germination of cold-stored Arabidopsis thaliana pollen

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One of the rare weak points of the model plant Arabidopsis is the technical problem associated with the germination of its male gametophyte and the generation of the pollen tube in vitro. Arabidopsis pollen being tricellular has a notoriously low in vitro germination compared to species with bicellular pollen. This drawback strongly affects the reproducibility of experiments based on this cellular system. Together with the fact that pollen collection from this species is tedious, these are obstacles for the standard use of Arabidopsis pollen for experiments that require high numbers of pollen tubes and for which the percentage of germination needs to be highly reproducible. The possibility of freeze-storing pollen after bulk collection is a potential way to solve these problems, but necessitates methods that ensure continued viability and reproducible capacity to germinate. Our objective was the optimization of germination conditions for Arabidopsis pollen that had been freeze-stored. We optimized the concentrations of various media components conventionally used for in vitro pollen germination. We found that in general 4 mM calcium, 1.62 mM boric acid, 1 mM potassium, 1 mM magnesium, 18% sucrose at pH 7 and a temperature of 22.5°C are required for optimal pollen germination. However, different experimental setups may deviate in their requirements from this general protocol. We suggest how to optimally use these optimized methods for different practical experiments ranging from morphological observations of pollen tubes in optical and electron microscopy to their bulk use for molecular and biochemical analyses or for experimental setups for which a specific medium stiffness is critical.

F. Bou Daher and Y. Chebli contributed equally to this study.
Communicated by F. Brandizzi.