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Science 307 (5709): 573-576

Copyright © 2005 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Micropylar Pollen Tube Guidance by Egg Apparatus 1 of Maize

Mihaela L. Márton,1 Simone Cordts,1 Jean Broadhvest,2 Thomas Dresselhaus1*

Abstract: Pollen tube guidance precedes the double fertilization of flowering plants. Here, we report the identification of a small maize protein of 94 amino acids involved in short-range signaling required for pollen tube attraction by the female gametophyte. ZmEA1 is exclusively expressed in the egg apparatus, consisting of the egg cell and two synergids. Chimeric ZmEA1 fused to green fluorescent protein (ZmEA1:GFP) was first visible within the filiform apparatus and later was localized to nucellar cell walls below the micropylar opening of the ovule. Transgenic down-regulation of the ZmEA1 gene led to ovule sterility caused by loss of close-range pollen tube guidance to the micropyle.

1 Biocenter Klein Flottbek, Developmental Biology and Biotechnology, University of Hamburg, Ohnhorststrasse 18, D-22609 Hamburg, Germany.
2 Bayer BioScience N.V., Technologiepark 38, B-9052 Ghent, Belgium.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: dresselh{at}

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