Pollen of L. longiflorum was grown in 45Ca-labeled medium and washed with nonradioactive medium. Whole, labeled pollen was then frozen and autoradiographed at -78 degrees C. The autoradiographs show striking accumulations of 45Ca in the growing tips of the pollen tubes. This result is obtained when the pollen is labeled for times as short as 1 min, or as long as 5 h. In most cases, the tip concentration is about two to four times greater than that in the bulk of the pollen tube, and extends for a length of about 20 mum. In autoradiographs of tubes longer than 1 mm, a small fraction of cells show a distinctly larger 45Ca accumulation, the tip containing more than 100 times that in the rest of the cell. The 1- to 5-h labeling experiments show that calcium is relatively concentrated within the cytoplasm of the growing tip. The 1- to 3-min labeling experiments suggest that calcium may enter the tip faster than it enters other regions. These patterns of calcium accumulation and flux may be related to the localized secretion of vesicles at the grow;ng tip.

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