Live imaging of calcium spikes during double fertilization in Arabidopsis

Nat Commun. 2014 Aug 22:5:4722. doi: 10.1038/ncomms5722.


Ca(2+) waves and oscillation are key signalling elements during the fertilization process of animals, and are involved, for example, in egg activation. In the unique double fertilization process in flowering plants, both the egg cell and the neighbouring central cell fuse with a sperm cell each. Here we succeeded in imaging cytosolic Ca(2+) in these two cells, and in the two synergid cells that accompany the gametes during semi-in vivo double fertilization. Following pollen tube discharge and plasmogamy, the egg and central cells displayed transient Ca(2+) spikes, but not oscillations. Only the events in the egg cell correlated with the plasmogamy. In contrast, the synergid cells displayed Ca(2+) oscillations on pollen tube arrival. The two synergid cells showed distinct Ca(2+) dynamics depending on their respective roles in tube reception. These Ca(2+) dynamics in the female gametophyte seem to represent highly specific signatures that coordinate successful double fertilization in the flowering plants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Calcium Signaling*
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Cytosol / metabolism
  • Fluorescent Dyes / metabolism
  • Microscopy, Confocal / methods
  • Molecular Imaging / methods
  • Ovule / cytology
  • Ovule / metabolism*
  • Pollen Tube / cytology
  • Pollen Tube / metabolism


  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • yellow cameleon