Phosphatidic acid produced by phospholipase D is required for tobacco pollen tube growth

Planta. 2003 May;217(1):122-30. doi: 10.1007/s00425-002-0965-4. Epub 2003 Jan 31.


Phospholipase D (PLD) and its product phosphatidic acid (PA) are involved in a number of signalling pathways regulating cell proliferation, membrane vesicle trafficking and defence responses in eukaryotic cells. Here we report that PLD and PA have a role in the process of polarised plant cell expansion as represented by pollen tube growth. Both phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate-dependent and independent PLD activities were identified in pollen tube extracts, and activity levels during pollen tube germination and growth were measured. PLD-mediated PA production in vivo can be blocked by primary alcohols, which serve as a substrate for the transphosphatidylation reaction. Both pollen germination and tube growth are stopped in the presence 0.5% 1-butanol, whereas secondary and tertiary isomers do not show any effect. This inhibition could be overcome by addition of exogenous PA-containing liposomes. In the absence of n-butanol, addition of a micromolar concentration of PA specifically stimulates pollen germination and tube elongation. Furthermore, a recently established link between PLD and microtubule dynamics was supported by taxol-mediated partial rescue of the 1-butanol-inhibited pollen tubes. The potential signalling role for PLD-derived PA in plant cell expansion is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 1-Butanol / pharmacology
  • Butanols / pharmacology
  • Fertility / drug effects
  • Flowers / drug effects
  • Flowers / growth & development*
  • Microtubules / physiology
  • Phosphatidic Acids / biosynthesis*
  • Phosphatidic Acids / pharmacology
  • Phospholipase D / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Tobacco / enzymology
  • Tobacco / growth & development*
  • tert-Butyl Alcohol / pharmacology


  • Butanols
  • Phosphatidic Acids
  • 2-butanol
  • 1-Butanol
  • Phospholipase D
  • tert-Butyl Alcohol