To elucidate the functional differences in how Arabidopsis stigmas regulate pollen hydration and germination, we analyzed receptivity of stigmas, epidermal surfaces (leaves, stems of inflorescence bolts, and floral organs), and an abiotic surface (cover glass) for pollen hydration and germination. Using 65% relative humidity (RH), we found that mature pollen grains were able to hydrate and germinate on stigmas at flower developmental stages 9–13, but not on the distal end of pistils at stage 8, epidermal surfaces, or glass. Furthermore, under 100% RH, pollen grains could hydrate on all tested surfaces, but pollen germination was observed only on the young floral organs (stages 9–12) and the stigmas at stages 9–13. The distal ends of pistils at stage 8, the epidermal surfaces, and the cover glass did not support pollen germination even under 100% RH. Our results indicate that pistil factors regulating pollen hydration and germination are synthesized at stage 9 when stigmatic papillar cells begin to develop. Although pistil factors involved in pollen hydration may only be present on the stigma, the factors involved in pollen germination may localize on both the stigma and surfaces of unopened floral organs.
Pollen Stigma Hydration Germination
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This study is funded by the Major Research Plan from the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (No. 2007CB947600).
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