Male-female crosstalk during pollen germination, tube growth and guidance, and double fertilization

Thomas Dresselhaus, Vernonica Franklin-Tong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

199 Citations (Scopus)


Sperm cells of flowering plants are non-motile and thus require transportation to the egg apparatus via the pollen tube to execute double fertilization. During its journey, the pollen tube interacts with various sporophytic cell types that support its growth and guide it towards the surface of the ovule. The final steps of tube guidance and sperm delivery are controlled by the cells of the female gametophyte. During fertilization, cell-cell communication events take place to achieve and maximize reproductive success. Additional layers of crosstalk exist, including self-recognition and specialized processes to prevent self-fertilization and consequent inbreeding. In this review, we focus on intercellular communication between the pollen grain/pollen tube including the sperm cells with the various sporophytic maternal tissues and the cells of the female gametophyte. Polymorphic-secreted peptides and small proteins, especially those belonging to various subclasses of small cysteine-rich proteins (CRPs), reactive oxygen species (ROS)/NO signaling, and the second messenger Ca(2+), play center stage in most of these processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1018-36
Number of pages19
JournalMolecular Plant
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013


  • Fertilization
  • Germination
  • Ovule
  • Pollen Tube
  • Self-Incompatibility in Flowering Plants
  • Signal Transduction


Dive into the research topics of 'Male-female crosstalk during pollen germination, tube growth and guidance, and double fertilization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this