Expression of a polygalacturonase enzyme in germinating pollen of Brassica napus
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Penetration of pollen tubes through stigmatic tissues in Brassica napus L. may involve the release of cell wall modifying enzymes from the pollen tube tip. We examined the expression of a pectin-degrading polygalacturonase (PG) enzyme in unpollinated and early and late pollinated stigmas via immunoblotting and immuno-light microscopy using a PG polyclonal antibody. Immunoblotting analysis indicated that PG enzyme was present at low levels in unpollinated stigmas and at high levels in pollinated stigmas. The level of PG did not detectably increase between early and late pollinated stigmas. Immuno-light microscopy demonstrated that PG enzyme was present in ungerminated pollen grains, stigmatic papillae and in the tip of pollen tubes growing into the papillar wall. This latter evidence suggests that PG enzyme may play an important role in papillar cell wall penetration during pollination although other interpretations of the role of pollen PG should not be discounted.
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