Pollen tube contents initiate ovule enlargement and enhance seed coat development without fertilization

Sci Adv. 2016 Oct 28;2(10):e1600554. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1600554. eCollection 2016 Oct.


In angiosperms, pollen tubes carry two sperm cells toward the egg and central cells to complete double fertilization. In animals, not only sperm but also seminal plasma is required for proper fertilization. However, little is known regarding the function of pollen tube content (PTC), which is analogous to seminal plasma. We report that the PTC plays a vital role in the prefertilization state and causes an enlargement of ovules without fertilization. We termed this phenomenon as pollen tube-dependent ovule enlargement morphology and placed it between pollen tube guidance and double fertilization. Additionally, PTC increases endosperm nuclei without fertilization when combined with autonomous endosperm mutants. This finding could be applied in agriculture, particularly in enhancing seed formation without fertilization in important crops.

Keywords: Plant sciences; agriculture; cell biology; plant reproduction; pollen tube contents.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Mutation
  • Ovule / genetics
  • Ovule / metabolism*
  • Pollen Tube / genetics
  • Pollen Tube / metabolism*
  • Seeds / genetics
  • Seeds / metabolism*