Plant Reproduction

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 31–41 | Cite as

Multilayered signaling pathways for pollen tube growth and guidance

  • Hong-Ju LiEmail author
  • Jiang-Guo Meng
  • Wei-Cai YangEmail author
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Plant Reproduction Research in Asia


Sexual reproductive success is essential for the survival of all higher organisms. As the most prosperous and diverse group of land plants on earth, flowering plants evolved highly sophisticated fertilization mechanisms. To adapt to the terrestrial environment, a tubular structure pollen tube has been evolved to deliver the immobile sperm cells to the egg and central cell enclosed within the ovule. The pollen tube is generated from the vegetative cell of the pollen (male gametophyte), where two sperm cells are hosted. Pollen tube elongation in the maternal tissue and navigation to the ovule require intimate cell–cell interactions between the tube and female tissues. Questions on how the single-celled pollen tube accomplishes such task and how the female tissues accommodate the tube have attracted many plant biologists. Here, we review recent progresses and concepts in understanding the molecular mechanisms governing pollen tube growth and its interactions with the female tissues. We will also discuss the future perspective in this field.


Pollen tube Embryo sac Fertilization 



This work is supported by the Grant from National Natural Science Foundation of China (31571385, 31622010 to H. L. and 31330053 to W. Y.).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

We declare that we have no conflicts of interest.


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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Molecular Developmental Biology, Institute of Genetics and Developmental BiologyChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.The University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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