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Science 332 (6028): 434-437

Copyright © 2011 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Glutamate Receptor–Like Genes Form Ca2+ Channels in Pollen Tubes and Are Regulated by Pistil D-Serine

Erwan Michard,1,* Pedro T. Lima,1 Filipe Borges,1 Ana Catarina Silva,1 Maria Teresa Portes,1 João E. Carvalho,1 Matthew Gilliham,2 Lai-Hua Liu,3 Gerhard Obermeyer,4 José A. Feijó1,5,{dagger}

Abstract: Elevations in cytosolic free calcium concentration ([Ca2+]cyt) constitute a fundamental signal transduction mechanism in eukaryotic cells, but the molecular identity of Ca2+ channels initiating this signal in plants is still under debate. Here, we show by pharmacology and loss-of-function mutants that in tobacco and Arabidopsis, glutamate receptor–like channels (GLRs) facilitate Ca2+ influx across the plasma membrane, modulate apical [Ca2+]cyt gradient, and consequently affect pollen tube growth and morphogenesis. Additionally, wild-type pollen tubes grown in pistils of knock-out mutants for serine-racemase (SR1) displayed growth defects consistent with a decrease in GLR activity. Our findings reveal a novel plant signaling mechanism between male gametophyte and pistil tissue similar to amino acid–mediated communication commonly observed in animal nervous systems.

1 Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Rua da Quinta Grande, 6, P-2780-156 Oeiras, Portugal.
2 Waite Research Institute and School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, University of Adelaide, PMB 1, Glen Osmond, SA 5064, Australia.
3 Key Laboratory of Plant and Soil Interaction, College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, China Agriculture University, 100193 Beijing, China.
4 Molecular Plant Biophysics and Biochemistry, Department of Molecular Biology, University of Salzburg, Billrothstrasse 11, 5020 Salzburg, Austria.
5 Universidade de Lisboa, Faculdade de Ciências, Departamento de Biologia Vegetal, Campo Grande C2, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal.

* Present address: Biochimie et Physiologie Moléculaire des Plantes, UMR 5004 CNRS-INRA-SupAgro-UM2, Campus INRA-Supagro, place Viala, 34060 Montpellier cedex 2, France.

{dagger} To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: jfeijo{at}

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