• actin microfilaments;
  • cytochalasin;
  • immunofluorescence;
  • phalloidin;
  • cytoplasmic streaming


A comparison of actin localization in pollen tubes of Nicotiana has been made using a monoclonal actin antibody and rhodamine-phalloidin (RP). The monoclonal antiactin, based on Western blotting of pollen tube extract, labels a polypeptide at 45 kD that comigrates with muscle actin. A 51-kD unknown protein and three bands less than 45 kD, presumed to be proteolytic fragments of actin, are also observed. Structural observaations using this antibody reveal a network of axially oriented strands of microfilaments (MFs). The MFs are distributed throughout the length of the pollen tube except at the very tip, where diffuse staining is usually observed. A similar pattern of MFs is evident after RP staining. When pollen tubes are treated with cytochalasins (CB or CD) cytoplasmic streaming is inhibited, as is tube elongation. Microscopic analysis reveals that the microfilament (MF) pattern is markedly altered; however, the antibody and RP produce different staining patterns. The antibody reveals many MF strands that distribute throughout the tube length and extend into the very tip. In contrast, RP shows mostly a diffuse staining pattern with only a few short clumps of filamentous material. Immunogold labelling of sections of pollen tubes prepared by rapid-freeze fixation and freeze substitution reveals that actin MF bundles are indeed present after cytochalasin treatment. Our results thus question reports in the literature, based on phalloidin staining, asserting that cytochalasin fragments or destroys actin MFs.