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Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Unravel Unknown Receptors and Mechanism for Plant Fertilization

March 16, 2016

In 2009, Professor Tetsuya Higashiyama of Nagoya University and his colleagues discovered that a synergid cell located next to the egg cell, produces molecules called LUREs that attract pollen tubes in Torenia plants. They also discovered similar LURE peptides in Arabidopsis thaliana in 2012.

Pollen tubes are attracted by LURE peptides, which are produced from ovules, to bring about fertilization. In a recent study, Professor Tetsuya Higashiyama and his fellow biologist Dr. Hidenori Takeuchi revealed for the first time a key kinase receptor PRK6, in the pollen tubes of flowering plants responsible for allowing the pollen tubes to precisely reach the egg cell to enable successful fertilization, without losing its way.

The biologists discovered PRK6 at the tip of the pollen tube in the model plant, A. thaliana. They also found that this receptor works with multiple receptors with a similar structure, to precisely detect the signals transmitted from the pistil. By accepting the various signals sent from the pistil, the kinase receptors enable the pollen tubes to grow to a position inside the pistil where they can detect LURE. Subsequently, the pollen tubes are guided to reach the egg cell and pass on their sperm cells for fertilization.

For more details, read the news release at the Nagoya University website.