Pollen ultrastructure in anther cultures of Datura innoxia. II. The generative-cell wall.
Dunwell, J. M. and Sunderland, N. (1976) Pollen ultrastructure in anther cultures of Datura innoxia. II. The generative-cell wall. Journal of Cell Science, 22 (3). pp. 481-491. ISSN 0021-9533
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In young pollen grains of Datura innoxia, a wall of the usual hemispherical type separates the 2 gametophytic cells initially and, in the electron microscope, appears as an electron-translucent matrix which is contiguous with the intine. Before detachment of the generative cell from the intine, the matrix decreases in thickness and in places is dispersed altogether leaving the plasmalemmae on either side of it in close apposition. A particularly prominent zone, triangular in profile, is left where the wall joins with the intine. After detachment of the cell, remnants of the matrix can be seen distributed irregularly around the cell and it is supposed that these are partly derived from material in the triangular zone as the cell is drawn away from the intine. The wall residues persist throughout the maturation phase of the pollen and are considered to be either callose resulting from incomplete digestion of the initial wall, or some other polysaccharide material which is unevenly laid down along the wall and concentrated at the junction with the intine. In pollen induced into embryogenesis by anther culture, wall material is also distributed irregularly around the detached cell in a series of discrete zones, but these are more extensive than in vivo, closer together and in many instances highly dilated. The wall profiles thus have a beaded appearance, the 'beads' being connected together by short links of the 2 apposed plasmalemmae. The contents of the swollen zones have a similar electron density to that of the matrix in vivo but also show traces of a fibrillar component. It is postulated that this unusual swelling is a prelude to dispersal of the wall by disruption of the plasmalemmal links and to the establishment of cytoplasmic continuity between the 2 cells. The significance of such binucleate pollen grains in the formation of non-haploid embryos is discussed.