Actin filament organization and polarity in pollen tubes revealed by myosin II subfragment 1 decoration

Planta. 2008 Oct;228(5):891-6. doi: 10.1007/s00425-008-0802-5. Epub 2008 Aug 12.


The actin cytoskeleton plays a crucial role in pollen tube growth. In elongating pollen tubes the organization and arrangement of actin filaments (AFs) differs between the shank and apical region. However, the orientation of AFs in pollen tubes has not yet been successfully demonstrated. In the present work we have used myosin II subfragment 1 (S1) decoration to determine the polarity of AFs in pollen tubes. Electron microscopy studies revealed that in the shank of the tube bundles of AFs exhibit uniform polarity with those close to the cell cortex having their barbed ends oriented towards the tip of the pollen tube while those in the cell center have their barbed ends oriented toward the base of the tube. At the subapex, some AFs are organized in closely packed and longitudinally oriented bundles and some form curved bundles adjacent to the cell membrane. In contrast, few AFs are dispersed with random orientation in the extreme apex of the pollen tube. Our results confirm that the direction of cytoplasmic streaming within pollen tubes is determined by the polarity of AFs in the bundles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • Actin Cytoskeleton / ultrastructure
  • Lilium / metabolism*
  • Lilium / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Myosin Subfragments / metabolism*
  • Myosin Subfragments / ultrastructure
  • Pollen Tube / metabolism*
  • Pollen Tube / ultrastructure


  • Myosin Subfragments