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Actomyosin and movement in the angiosperm pollen tube: an interpretation of some recent results


Recent confirmations of the presence of myosin in angiosperm pollen tubes indicate that an energy-transducing actomyosin system is involved in the motility system of the vegetative cells. Myosin has been localised by immunofluorescence on the surfaces of vegetative nuclei and generative cells. It has been shown to be associated with individual amyloplasts in grass pollen, and there are indications that it is present on other particulate bodies in the cytoplasm. The organelles in the leading part of the tube move along separate traffic lanes of acropetal and basipetal polarity, known from electron microscopy and phalloidin labelling to contain numbers of fibrils containing aggregates of actin microfilaments; in older segments the movement can be related to single, uniformly polarised, fibrils. Circulatory flow is maintained at the proximal end by the looping of the fibrils in the grain or at callose plugs. Such loops do not occur at the apex, where entering organelles undergo random movement before becoming associated with basipetal streams. Vegetative nuclei and generative cells interact with several fibrils, and it is suggested that they are held in the leading part of the protoplast in unstable equilibrium between acropetal and basipetal forces. Constantly changing form, especially of the vegetative nucleus, is one consequence of these varying stresses. Possible analogies with the intracellular motility system of the giant cells of the Characeae are noted, and it is suggested that lipid globuli and other nonorganellar bodies may be transported in the pollen tube by association with myosin-bearing membranes similar to those involved in endoplasm movement in the characean cells.

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Correspondence to J. Heslop-Harrison.

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Heslop-Harrison, J., Heslop-Harrison, Y. Actomyosin and movement in the angiosperm pollen tube: an interpretation of some recent results. Sexual Plant Reprod 2, 199–207 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00195579

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Key words

  • Pollen tube
  • Actin
  • Myosin
  • Organelle movement
  • Vegetative nucleus movement
  • Generative cell movement