Plant biology

Let ZmEA Guide You

Science's STKE  01 Feb 2005:
Vol. 2005, Issue 269, pp. tw49
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2692005tw49

In flowering plants, the immotile sperm cells are transported toward the egg through the pollen tube, which navigates its own path from the pollen grain to the female gametophyte. Márton et al. have now identified one of the signals likely to guide the pollen tube. Studying maize, a small egg apparatus-derived protein, ZmEA1, was found to light up the way for the final steps of pollen tube guidance. The ZmEA1 gene was expressed in the egg apparatus, and the protein acted as a short-range signal required for successful fertilization. After fertilization, ZmEA1 expression was rapidly down-regulated.

M. L. Márton, S. Cordts, J. Broadhvest, T. Dresselhaus, Micropylar pollen tube guidance by egg apparatus 1 of maize. Science 307, 573-576 (2005). [Abstract] [Full Text]