Gametophytic development of Brassica napus pollen in vitro enables examination of cytoskeleton and nuclear movements

E. Dubas, M. Wedzony, J.B.M. Custers, H. Kieft, A.A.M. van Lammeren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Isolated microspores and pollen suspension of Brassica napus “Topas” cultured in NLN-13 medium at 18°C follow gametophytic pathway and develop into pollen grains closely resembling pollen formed in planta. This culture system complemented with whole-mount immunocytochemical technology and novel confocal laser scanning optical technique enables detailed studies of male gametophyte including asymmetric division, cytoskeleton, and nuclear movements. Microtubular cytoskeleton configurationally changed in successive stages of pollen development. The most prominent role of microtubules (MTs) was observed just before and during nuclear migration at the early and mid-bi-cellular stage. At the early bi-cellular stage, parallel arrangement of cortical and endoplasmic MTs to the long axis of the generative cell (GC) as well as MTs within GC under the plasmalemma bordering vegetative cell (VC) were responsible for GC lens shape. At the beginning of the GC migration, endoplasmic microtubules (EMTs) of the VC radiated from the nuclear envelope. Most cortical and EMTs of the VC were found near the sporoderm. At the same time, pattern of MTs observed in GC was considerably different. Multiple EMTs of the GC, previously parallel aligned, reorganized, and start to surround GC, forming a basket-like structure. These results suggest that EMTs of GC provoke changes in GC shape, its detachment from the sporoderm, and play an important role in GC migration to the vegetative nucleus (VN). During the process of migration of the GC to the VC, multiple and thick bundles of MTs, radiating from the cytoplasm near GC plasma membrane, arranged perpendicular to the narrow end of the GC and organized into a “comet-tail” form. These GC “tail” MTs became shortened and the generative nucleus (GN) took a ball shape. The dynamic changes of MTs accompanied polarized distribution pattern of mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum. In order to confirm the role of MTs in pollen development, a “whole-mount” immunodetection technique and confocal laser-scanning microscopy was essential.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-377
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • microspore embryogenesis
  • cv topas
  • induction
  • actin
  • cells
  • microtubules
  • differentiation
  • organization
  • arabidopsis
  • behavior

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