Sexual Plant Reproduction

, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 245–252 | Cite as

The PELPIII glycoproteins in Solanaceae: stylar expression and transfer into pollen tube walls

  • B. H. J. de Graaf
  • B. A. Knuiman
  • G. M. van der Weerden
  • R. Feron
  • J. DerksenEmail author
  • C. Mariani
Original Article


The class III pistil-specific extensin-like proteins (PELPIII) of Nicotiana tabacum accumulate in the intercellular matrix (IM) of the style transmitting tissue (TT). After pollination, the 110–140 kDa PELPIII is translocated from the IM into the pollen tube walls. PELPIII-like sequences have been found in several solanaceous species. These sequences are expressed in mature non-pollinated styles at both RNA and protein level. Of the genus Nicotiana, the species N. alata, N. x sanderae and N. sylvestris (section Alatae), and N. tomentosiformis and N. otophora (section Tomentosae) showed an expression level of PELPIII homologues similar to that in mature styles of N. tabacum. PELPIII genes were absent in the most ancient species studied, namely N. trigonophylla (section Trigonophyllae). To study the species dependence of the translocation of PELPIII into the pollen tube wall in tobacco, interspecific pollinations on N. tabacum pistils were carried out with pollen from the incongruous species N. rustica, N. trigonophylla and Petunia hybrida, where PELPIII homologues are absent in the style. Immunocytological tests showed that the N. tabacum PELPIII is translocated into the pollen tube walls of all three species. Thus, the pollen tube walls of these species do not form a barrier for IM compounds such as the 110–140 kDa PELPIII and the absence of any possible effect of PELPIII on pollen tube growth cannot be due to failure of PELPIII transport through the wall. The importance of these findings is discussed with respect to the evolutionary origin of PELPIII, the pollen pistil interaction, the function of style TT-specific proteins and the physical properties of pollen tube walls.


Transmitting tissue PELPIII Pollen tube Interspecific crosses Nicotiana tabacum 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. H. J. de Graaf
    • 1
    • 3
  • B. A. Knuiman
    • 1
  • G. M. van der Weerden
    • 2
  • R. Feron
    • 1
  • J. Derksen
    • 1
    Email author
  • C. Mariani
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Experimental Botany, Laboratory of Plant Cell Biology, Graduate School of Experimental Plant ScienceUniversity of Nijmegen NijmegenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Botanical GardenUniversity of NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.School of BiosciencesUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK

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