Pollen tube targeting and axon guidance: parallels in tip growth mechanisms

Trends Cell Biol. 2000 Dec;10(12):517-24. doi: 10.1016/s0962-8924(00)01849-3.


The growth of pollen tubes to plant egg cells and the guidance of axons to neural synapses are classic examples of targeted cell growth. Despite the evolutionary time that separates animals and plants, axon and pollen tube guidance share remarkable mechanistic similarities. In both instances, extracellular cues are transduced by intracellular signal-transduction pathways that culminate in directed tip growth. Do the mechanistic similarities extend to the molecular level? Here, we address this question by a comprehensive review of the molecules and pathways involved in pollen tube targeting and axon guidance. The emerging scenario is that similar intracellular molecules are recruited to control tip growth, while different extracellular molecules mediate guidance through the distinct plant and animal extracellular matrices.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Chemotaxis*
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Plant Physiological Phenomena*
  • Pollen / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism


  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins
  • Calcium