Cytoskeletal organisation and modification during pollen tube arrival, gamete delivery and fertilisation in Plumbago zeylanica

Zygote. 1993 May;1(2):143-54. doi: 10.1017/s0967199400001404.


The cytoskeletal organisation of the isolated embryo sac and egg cells of Plumbago zeylanica was examined before, during and after pollen tube penetration into the embryo sac to determine the potential involvement of microtubules and actin filaments in fertilisation. Material was singly and triply stained using Hoechst 33258 to localise DNA, fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-labelled anti-alpha-tubulin to detect microtubules and rhodamine-phalloidin to visualise F-actin. Microtubules in the unfertilised egg cell are longitudinally aligned in the micropylar and mid-lateral areas, aggregating into bundles near the filiform apparatus. In the perinuclear cytoplasm of the egg cell, microtubules become more or less randomly aligned. F-actin bundles form a longitudinally aligned mesh in the chalazal cytoplasm of the egg cell. In the central cell, microtubules and F-actin are distributed along transvacuolar strands and are also evident in the perinuclear region and at the periphery of the cell. During pollen tube penetration, sparse microtubule bundles near the pathway of the pollen tube may form an apparent microtubular 'conduit' surrounding the male gametes at the delivery site. Actin aggregates become organised near the pathway of the pollen tube and at the delivery site of the sperm cells. Subsequently, actin aggregates form a 'corona' structure in the intercellular region between the egg and central cell where gametic fusion occurs. The corona may have a role in maintaining the close proximity of the egg and central cell and helping the two sperm cells move and bind to their target cells. The cytoskeleton may also be involved in causing the two nuclei of the egg and central cell to approach one another at the site of gametic fusion and transporting the two sperm nuclei into alignment with their respective female nucleus. The cytoskeleton is reorganised during early embryogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cytoskeleton / physiology
  • Cytoskeleton / ultrastructure
  • Fertilization / physiology
  • Ovum / ultrastructure
  • Plant Physiological Phenomena
  • Plants / ultrastructure*
  • Pollen / ultrastructure
  • Zygote / ultrastructure