Plant Reproduction

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 357–365 | Cite as

The role of reactive oxygen species in pollen germination in Picea pungens (blue spruce)

  • Nikita Maksimov
  • Anastasia Evmenyeva
  • Maria BreyginaEmail author
  • Igor Yermakov
Original Article

Key message

Endogenous ROS, including those produced by NADPH oxidase, are required for spruce pollen germination and regulate membrane potential in pollen tubes; \({\mathbf{O}}_{{\mathbf{2}}}^{{{\mathbf{ \cdot - }}}}\) and H 2 O 2 are unevenly distributed along the tube.


Recently, the key role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in plant reproduction has been decisively demonstrated for angiosperms. This paper is dedicated to the involvement of ROS in pollen germination of gymnosperms, which remained largely unknown. We found that ROS are secreted from pollen grains of blue spruce during the early stage of activation. The localization of different ROS in pollen tube initials and pollen tubes demonstrated the accumulation of H2O2 in pollen tube apex. Colocalization with mitochondria-derived \({\text{O}}_{2}^{ \cdot - }\) showed that H2O2 is produced in mitochondria and amyloplasts in addition to its apical gradient in the cytosol. The necessity of intracellular ROS and, particularly, \({\text{O}}_{2}^{ \cdot - }\) for pollen germination was demonstrated using different antioxidants. ·OH and extracellular ROS, on the contrary, were found to be not necessary for germination. Exogenous hydrogen peroxide did not affect the germination efficiency but accelerated pollen tube growth in a concentration-dependent manner. The optical measurements of membrane potential showed that in spruce pollen tubes there is a gradient which is controlled by H+-ATPase, potassium- and calcium-permeable channels, anion channels and ROS, as demonstrated by inhibitory analysis. An important role of NADPH oxidase in the regulation of ROS balance in particular, and in germination in general, has been demonstrated by inhibiting the enzyme, which leads to the reduction in ROS release, depolarization of pollen tube plasma membrane, and blocking of pollen germination.


Pollen germination Pollen tube growth Gymnosperms Reactive oxygen species Hydrogen peroxide 



Authors are grateful to WSBS of Moscow State University and Prof. A. B. Tsetlin for providing the technical opportunity to conduct this study. Authors want to thank N. P. Matveyeva for the idea on which this study is based. The research was supported by Russian Foundation for Basic Research, project 18-34-00979.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nikita Maksimov
    • 1
  • Anastasia Evmenyeva
    • 1
  • Maria Breygina
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Igor Yermakov
    • 1
  1. 1.Lomonosov Moscow State UniversityMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Pirogov Russian National Research Medical UniversityMoscowRussia

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