Using a newly developed vibrating electrode, we have explored the electric fields around lily pollen germinating in vitro. From these field measurements, we infer that each weeted pollen drives a steady current of a few hundred picoamperes through itself. Considered as a flow of positive ions, this current enters an ungerminated grain's prospective growth site and leaves it opposite end. After a grain germinates and forms a tube, this current enters most of the growing tube and leaves the whole grain. The current densities over both of these extended surface regions are relatively uniform, and the boundary zone, near the tube's base, is relatively narrow. This current continues as long as the tube grows, and even continues when elongation, as well as cytoplasmic streaming, are blocked by 1 mug/ml of cytochalasin B. After a otherwise indistinguishable minority of tubes have grown to lengths of a millimeter or more, their current comes to include an endless train of discrete and characteristic current pulses as well as a steady component. These pulses are about 30s long, never overlap, recur every 60-100s, and seem to enter a region more restricted to be growing tip than the steady current's sink. In most ways, the current through growing lily pollen resembles that known to flow through focoid eggs.
Article| September 01 1975
Large electrical currents traverse growing pollen tubes.
M H Weisenseel
L F Jaffe
Online ISSN: 1540-8140
Print ISSN: 0021-9525
J Cell Biol (1975) 66 (3): 556–567.
M H Weisenseel, R Nuccitelli, L F Jaffe; Large electrical currents traverse growing pollen tubes.. J Cell Biol 1 September 1975; 66 (3): 556–567. doi: https://doi.org/10.1083/jcb.66.3.556
Download citation file: