Brefeldin A effects on tobacco pollen tubes

Eur J Cell Biol. 1993 Aug;61(2):247-55.


Pollen germination and pollen tube growth were clearly affected by the drug brefeldin A: both processes could be stopped completely. Notable thickening of the cell wall was not observed in non-growing pollen tubes, and plasma streaming remained vigorous in the presence of brefeldin A. Over time, the tip region became filled with a dense cytoplasm that lacked large organelles. Ultrastructural observation showed the rapid dissociation and disappearance of Golgi bodies. The concomitant appearance of vesicle-like structures attached to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) suggests a fusion of the Golgi with the ER similar to that which happens in animal cells. Secretory vesicles disappeared from drug-treated tubes, and the tip region became filled with tubular ER. As the actions of the drug seemed to be reversible, brefeldin A may contribute substantially to research on Golgi dynamics and tip growth in pollen tubes.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport / drug effects
  • Brefeldin A
  • Cyclopentanes / pharmacology*
  • Cytoskeleton / drug effects
  • Cytoskeleton / ultrastructure
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / drug effects*
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / ultrastructure
  • Golgi Apparatus / drug effects*
  • Golgi Apparatus / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Plants, Toxic*
  • Pollen / drug effects*
  • Pollen / ultrastructure
  • Polysaccharides / metabolism
  • Tobacco / drug effects*
  • Tobacco / ultrastructure


  • Cyclopentanes
  • Polysaccharides
  • Brefeldin A