Distribution of unesterified and esterified pectins in cell walls of pollen tubes of flowering plants
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Immunocytochemical localization of polygalacturonic acid (pectin) and methyl-esterified pectin in the walls of pollen tubes of 20 species of flowering plants grown in vitro was investigated by using monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) JIM5 and JIM7 and by means of confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). In general, periodic annular deposits of pectins were found coating the tube wall in species possessing solid styles, and a more uniform pectin sheath in tube walls in species having hollow styles or no styles. We hypothesize that the periodic ring-like structure of the pectin sheath reinforces pollen tubes for passing through the transmitting tract in the style. Esterified pectin which prevents Ca2+-induced gelification of pectate is located predominantly at the apex. This implies that pectin esterification is related to tip wall “loosening” that is required for cell wall expansion during tip growth of pollen tubes. The occurrence of unesterified pectins in other areas of pollen tube walls suggests that de-esterification of pectin following tip expansion leads to a more rigid form of pectin that contributes to the construction of the pollen tube wall.
Key wordsImmunocytochemical localization Monoclonal antibodies (JIM5 and JIM7) Cell wall Pectin-Methyl-esterified pectin Pollen tube Style structure
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