Uncoupling secretion and tip growth in lily pollen tubes: evidence for the role of calcium in exocytosis


*For correspondence (fax +1 413 545 3243; e-mail terena@bio.umass.edu).


Cytoplasmic calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i) and extracellular calcium (Ca2+o) influx has been studied in pollen tubes of Lilium longliflorum in which the processes of cell elongation and exocytosis have been uncoupled by use of Yariv phenylglycoside ((β-D-Glc)3). Growing pollen tubes were pressure injected with the ratio dye fura-2 dextran and imaged after application of (β-D-Glc)3, which binds arabinogalactan proteins (AGPs). Application of (β-D-Glc)3 inhibited growth but not secretion. Ratiometric imaging of [Ca2+]i revealed an initial spread in the locus of the apical [Ca2+]i gradient and substantial elevations in basal [Ca2+]i followed by the establishment of new regions of elevated [Ca2+]i on the flanks of the tip region. Areas of elevated [Ca2+]i corresponded to sites of pronounced exocytosis, as evidenced by the formation of wall ingrowths adjacent to the plasma membrane. Ca2+o influx at the tip of (β-D-Glc)3-treated pollen tubes was not significantly different to that of control tubes. Taken together these data indicate that regions of elevated [Ca2+]i, probably resulting from Ca2+o influx across the plasma membrane, stimulate exocytosis in pollen tubes independent of cell elongation.