Microfilament orientation constrains vesicle flow and spatial distribution in growing pollen tubes

Biophys J. 2009 Oct 7;97(7):1822-31. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2009.07.038.


The dynamics of cellular organelles reveals important information about their functioning. The spatio-temporal movement patterns of vesicles in growing pollen tubes are controlled by the actin cytoskeleton. Vesicle flow is crucial for morphogenesis in these cells as it ensures targeted delivery of cell wall polysaccharides. Remarkably, the target region does not contain much filamentous actin. We model the vesicular trafficking in this area using as boundary conditions the expanding cell wall and the actin array forming the apical actin fringe. The shape of the fringe was obtained by imposing a steady state and constant polymerization rate of the actin filaments. Letting vesicle flux into and out of the apical region be determined by the orientation of the actin microfilaments and by exocytosis was sufficient to generate a flux that corresponds in magnitude and orientation to that observed experimentally. This model explains how the cytoplasmic streaming pattern in the apical region of the pollen tube can be generated without the presence of actin microfilaments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / chemistry*
  • Actin Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • Actins / chemistry
  • Actins / metabolism
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Models, Biological*
  • Plant Cells
  • Plant Development
  • Plants / metabolism
  • Pollen Tube / growth & development*
  • Pollen Tube / metabolism*
  • Protein Multimerization
  • Protein Structure, Quaternary
  • Transport Vesicles / metabolism*


  • Actins