Travelling in style: the cell biology of pollen

Trends Cell Biol. 1994 Apr;4(4):132-8. doi: 10.1016/0962-8924(94)90068-x.


Pollen grains of flowering plants are highly specialized two- to three-cell gametophytes that deliver sperm to the ovule. This function is achieved as a result of a complex developmental programme, including the coordinated events of meiotic divisions, the production of a unique extracellular matrix, the establishment of cytoplasmic domains, and a determinative asymmetric cell division. After maturation, pollen must interact specifically with the receptive female tissues and germinate a highly polarized pollen tube that rapidly grows through the style to the ovule. Thus, pollen is an excellent model system for the study of meiotic events, cellular organization, cell-cell interactions and polar growth in plant biology.