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Arabinogalactan-protein secretion is associated with the acquisition of stigmatic receptivity in the apple flower

Annals of Botany
Oxford University Press
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1093/aob/mcs116
  • Original Articles
  • Biology
  • Chemistry


Background and Aims Stigmatic receptivity plays a clear role in pollination dynamics; however, little is known about the factors that confer to a stigma the competence to be receptive for the germination of pollen grains. In this work, a developmental approach is used to evaluate the acquisition of stigmatic receptivity and its relationship with a possible change in arabinogalactan-proteins (AGPs). Methods Flowers of the domestic apple, Malus × domestica, were assessed for their capacity to support pollen germination at different developmental stages. Stigmas from these same stages were characterized morphologically and different AGP epitopes detected by immunocytochemistry. Key Results Acquisition of stigmatic receptivity and the secretion of classical AGPs from stigmatic cells occurred concurrently and following the same spatial distribution. While in unpollinated stigmas AGPs appeared unaltered, in cross-pollinated stigmas AGPs epitopes vanished as pollen tubes passed by. Conclusions The concurrent secretion of AGPs with the acquisition of stigmatic receptivity, together with the differential response in unpollinated and cross-pollinated pistils point out a role of AGPs in supporting pollen tube germination and strongly suggest that secretion of AGPs is associated with the acquisition of stigma receptivity.

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