Nicotiana tabacum pollen–pistil interactions show unexpected spatial and temporal differences in pollen tube growth among genotypes

Camila M.L. Alves, Andrzej K. Noyszewski, Alan G. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


KEY MESSAGE: This research revealed diverse PTG rates among intraspecific pollen-pistil interactions that showed variable dependency on the stigma and mature TT. Pollen-pistil interactions regulate pollen tube growth (PTG) rates and are determinants of fertilization and seed set. This research focuses on the diversity of intraspecific PTG rates and the spatial and temporal regulation of PTG among Nicotiana tabacum genotypes. Nonrandom mating within self-compatible species has been noted, but little is known on the mechanisms involved. To begin research on nonrandom mating, we took advantage of the model reproductive system of N. tabacum and used seventeen diverse N. tabacum genotypes in a complete pollination diallel to measure the diversity of intraspecific pollen-pistil interactions. The 289 intraspecific interactions showed surprisingly large differences in PTG rates. The interaction between specific males and females resulted in 18 specific combining abilities that were significantly different, indicating the importance of the specific genotype interaction in regulating intraspecific PTG. No single female or male genotype exerted overall control of PTG rates, as determined by a general combining ability analysis. Slow and fast pollen-pistil interactions showed spatial differences in growth rates along the style. Slower interactions had a slower initial PTG rate while fast interactions had faster consistent rates of growth indicating spatial regulation of PTG in the pistil. Removal of the stigma or the mature transmitting tissue (TT) showed the tissue-specific component of PTG regulation. Stigma removal resulted in slower or no change in PTG rate depending on the pollen and pistil genotypes. Removal of the TT, which necessitated removal of the stigma, showed no change, slower or unexpectedly, increased growth rates relative to growth rates without a stigma. These data show the diverse nature of pollen-pistil interactions in N. tabacum genotypes providing a system to further investigate the regulation of PTG.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-352
Number of pages12
JournalPlant Reproduction
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Coordenação de Aperfeicoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior—CAPES (Science without Borders), Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, the University of Minnesota, Applied Plant Science Metric Fellowship and Bridging funds. Acknowledgements

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • Diallel
  • General combining ability (GCA)
  • Mating preference
  • Specific combining ability (SCA)
  • Stigma
  • Transmitting tissue

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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