Sexual plant reproduction vol:18 issue:1 pages:9-19
The effect of different external factors on pollen germination and pollen tube growth is well documented for several species. On the other hand the consequences of these factors on the division of the generative nucleus and the formation of callose plugs are less known. In this study we report the effect of medium pH, 2-[ N- morpholino] ethanesulfonic acid ( MES) buffer, sucrose concentration, partial substitution of sucrose by polyethyleneglycol ( PEG) 6000, arginine ( Arg), and pollen density on the following parameters: pollen germination, pollen tube length, division of the generative nucleus, and the formation of callose plugs. We also studied the different developmental processes in relation to time. The optimal pH for all parameters tested was 6.7. In particular, the division of the generative nucleus and callose plug deposition were inhibited at lower pH values. MES buffer had a toxic effect; both pollen germination and pollen tube length were lowered. MES buffer also influenced migration of the male germ unit ( MGU), the second mitotic division, and the formation of callose plugs. A sucrose concentration of 10% was optimal for pollen germination, pollen tube growth rate and final pollen tube length, as well as for division of the generative nucleus and the production of callose plugs. Partial substitution of sucrose by PEG 6000 had no influence on pollen germination and pollen tube length. However, in these pollen tubes the MGU often did not migrate and no callose plugs were observed. Pollen tube growth was independent of the migration of the MGU and the deposition of callose plugs. In previous experiments Arg proved to be positive for the division of the generative nucleus in pollen tubes cultured in vitro. Here, we found that more pollen tubes had callose plugs and more callose plugs per pollen tube were produced on medium with Arg. After the MGU migrated into the pollen tube ( 1 h after cultivation), callose plugs were deposited ( 3 h). After 8 h the first sperm cells were produced. The MGU moved away from the active pollen tube tip until the second pollen mitosis occurred, thereafter the distance from the MGU to the pollen tube tip diminished. Callose plug deposition never started prior to MGU migration into the pollen tube. Pollen tubes without a MGU also lack callose plugs ( +/- 30% of the total number of pollen tubes). Furthermore, we found a correlation between the occurrence of sperm cells in pollen tubes and the synthesis of callose plugs.