Pollen-tube guidance: beacons from the female gametophyte

Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2003 Feb;6(1):36-41. doi: 10.1016/s1369-5266(02)00010-9.


The sperm cell of a flowering plant cannot migrate unaided and it must be transported by the pollen-tube cell before successful fertilization can occur. The pollen tube is precisely guided to the target female gametophyte, the embryo sac, which contains the egg cell. The mechanism that precisely directs the pollen tube through the pistil to the female gametophyte has been studied for more than a century. There has been controversy over whether a diffusible signal attracts the pollen tube or whether female tissues define its path. Emerging genetic and physiological data show that the female gametophyte produces at least two directional signals, and that at least one of these signals is diffusible and derived from the two synergid cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development*
  • Fertility / genetics
  • Fertility / physiology
  • Flowers / genetics
  • Flowers / growth & development*
  • Reproduction / genetics
  • Reproduction / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*