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(1/2581) Rational analyses of organelle trajectories in tobacco pollen tubes reveal characteristics of the actomyosin cytoskeleton.

To gain insight into the characteristics of organelle movement and the underlying actomyosin motility system in tobacco pollen tubes, we collected data points representing sequential organelle positions in control and cytochalasin-treated cells, and in a sample of extruded cytoplasm. These data were utilized to reconstruct approximately 900 tracks, representing individual organelle movements, and to produce a quantitative analysis of the movement properties, supported by statistical tests. Each reconstructed track appeared to be unique and to show irregularities in velocity and direction of movement. The regularity quotient was near 2 at the tip and above 3 elsewhere in the cell, indicating that movement is more vectorial in the tube area. Similarly, the progressiveness ratio showed that there were relatively more straight trajectories in the tube region than at the tip. Consistent with these data, arithmetical dissection revealed a high degree of randomlike movement in the apex, lanes with tip-directed movement along the flanks, and grain-directed movement in the center of the tube. Intercalated lanes with bidirectional movement had lower organelle velocity, suggesting that steric hindrance plays a role. The results from the movement analysis indicate that the axial arrangement of the actin filaments and performance of the actomyosin system increases from tip to base, and that the opposite polarity of the actin filaments in the peripheral (+-ends of acting filaments toward the tip) versus the central cytoplasm (+-ends of actin filaments toward to the grain) is installed within a few minutes in these tip-growing cells.  (+info)

(2/2581) Male gametic cell-specific gene expression in flowering plants.

The role of the male gamete-the sperm cell-in the process of fertilization is to recognize, adhere to, and fuse with the female gamete. These highly specialized functions are expected to be controlled by activation of a unique set of genes. However, male gametic cells traditionally have been regarded as transcriptionally quiescent because of highly condensed chromatin and a very reduced amount of cytoplasm. Here, we provide evidence for male gamete-specific gene expression in flowering plants. We identified and characterized a gene, LGC1, which was shown to be expressed exclusively in the male gametic cells. The gene product of LGC1 was localized at the surface of male gametic cells, suggesting a possible role in sperm-egg interactions. These findings represent an important step toward defining the molecular mechanisms of male gamete development and the cellular processes involved in fertilization of flowering plants.  (+info)

(3/2581) Exhaled and nasal NO levels in allergic rhinitis: relation to sensitization, pollen season and bronchial hyperresponsiveness.

Exhaled nitric oxide is a potential marker of lower airway inflammation. Allergic rhinitis is associated with asthma and bronchial hyperresponsiveness. To determine whether or not nasal and exhaled NO concentrations are increased in allergic rhinitis and to assess the relation between hyperresponsiveness and exhaled NO, 46 rhinitic and 12 control subjects, all nonasthmatic nonsmokers without upper respiratory tract infection, were randomly selected from a large-scale epidemiological survey in Central Norway. All were investigated with flow-volume spirometry, methacholine provocation test, allergy testing and measurement of nasal and exhaled NO concentration in the nonpollen season. Eighteen rhinitic subjects completed an identical follow-up investigation during the following pollen season. Exhaled NO was significantly elevated in allergic rhinitis in the nonpollen season, especially in perennially sensitized subjects, as compared with controls (p=0.01), and increased further in the pollen season (p=0.04), mainly due to a two-fold increase in those with seasonal sensitization. Nasal NO was not significantly different from controls in the nonpollen season and did not increase significantly in the pollen season. Exhaled NO was increased in hyperresponsive subjects, and decreased significantly after methacholine-induced bronchoconstriction, suggesting that NO production occurs in the peripheral airways. In allergic rhinitis, an increase in exhaled nitric oxide on allergen exposure, particularly in hyperresponsive subjects, may be suggestive of airway inflammation and an increased risk for developing asthma.  (+info)

(4/2581) LeProT1, a transporter for proline, glycine betaine, and gamma-amino butyric acid in tomato pollen.

During maturation, pollen undergoes a period of dehydration accompanied by the accumulation of compatible solutes. Solute import across the pollen plasma membrane, which occurs via proteinaceous transporters, is required to support pollen development and also for subsequent germination and pollen tube growth. Analysis of the free amino acid composition of various tissues in tomato revealed that the proline content in flowers was 60 times higher than in any other organ analyzed. Within the floral organs, proline was confined predominantly to pollen, where it represented >70% of total free amino acids. Uptake experiments demonstrated that mature as well as germinated pollen rapidly take up proline. To identify proline transporters in tomato pollen, we isolated genes homologous to Arabidopsis proline transporters. LeProT1 was specifically expressed both in mature and germinating pollen, as demonstrated by RNA in situ hybridization. Expression in a yeast mutant demonstrated that LeProT1 transports proline and gamma-amino butyric acid with low affinity and glycine betaine with high affinity. Direct uptake and competition studies demonstrate that LeProT1 constitutes a general transporter for compatible solutes.  (+info)

(5/2581) Process and current status of the epidemiologic studies on cedar pollinosis in Japan.

This paper reviews the present situation and future aspects of epidemiologic studies on Japanese cedar pollinosis. Increase of allergic rhinitis patients is observed in both the Patient Survey and the Reports on the Surveys of Social Medical Care Insurance Services, however, these surveys are conducted when cedar pollens do not pollute the air. Many have reported on the prevalence of pollinosis in limited areas but only a few nationwide epidemiologic surveys have been conducted. Most of the studies were conducted at special medical facilities such as university hospitals. There is a high possibility that patients who visit the specific facilities do not exactly represent the actual number of patients and epidemiologic pictures of pollinosis in Japan. The rapid advances in laboratory test methods may change the diagnostic criteria and increase the number of reported patients. Therefore, the prevalence of Japanese cedar pollinosis in Japan has not been determined yet. Determination of the prevalence of cedar pollinosis and description of the epidemiologic pictures constitute the essential steps toward the control of this clinical entity. Thus it is necessary to conduct an epidemiologic survey on Japanese representative samples with a standardized survey form with clear and concise diagnostic criteria.  (+info)

(6/2581) Pollen ultrastructure in anther cultures of Datura innoxia. I. Division of the presumptive vegetative cell.

Ultrastructural features of embryogenic pollen in Datura innoxia are described, just prior to, during, and after completion of the first division of the presumptive vegetative cell. In anther cultures initiated towards the end of the microspore phase and incubated at 28 degrees C in darkness, the spores divide within 24 h and show features consistent with those of dividing spores in vivo. Cytokinesis is also normal in most of the spores and the gametophytic cell-plate curves round the presumptive generative nucleus in the usual highly ordered way. Further differentiation of the 2 gametophytic cells does not take place and the pollen either switches to embryogenesis or degenerates. After 48-72 h, the remaining viable pollen shows the vegetative cell in division. The cell, which has a large vacuole and thin layer of parietal cytoplasm carried over from the microspore, divides consistently in a plane parallel to the microspore division. The dividing wall follows a less-ordered course than the gametophytic wall and usually traverses the vacuole, small portions of which are incorporated into the daughter cell adjacent to the generative cell. The only structural changes in the vegetative cell associated with the change in programme appear to be an increase in electron density of both plastids and mitochondria and deposition of an electron-dense material (possibly lipid) on the tonoplast. The generative cell is attached to the intine when the vegetative cell divides. Ribosomal density increases in the generative cell and exceeds that in the vegetative cell. A thin electron-dense layer also appears in the generative-cell wall. It is concluded that embryogenesis commences as soon as the 2 gametophytic cells are laid down. Gene activity associated with postmitotic synthesis of RNA and protein in the vegetative cell is switched off. The data are discussed in relation to the first division of the embryogenic vegetative cells in Nicotiana tabacum.  (+info)

(7/2581) Pollen ultrastructure in anther cultures of Datura innoxia. II. The generative-cell wall.

In young pollen grains of Datura innoxia, a wall of the usual hemispherical type separates the 2 gametophytic cells initially and, in the electron microscope, appears as an electron-translucent matrix which is contiguous with the intine. Before detachment of the generative cell from the intine, the matrix decreases in thickness and in places is dispersed altogether leaving the plasmalemmae on either side of it in close apposition. A particularly prominent zone, triangular in profile, is left where the wall joins with the intine. After detachment of the cell, remnants of the matrix can be seen distributed irregularly around the cell and it is supposed that these are partly derived from material in the triangular zone as the cell is drawn away from the intine. The wall residues persist throughout the maturation phase of the pollen and are considered to be either callose resulting from incomplete digestion of the initial wall, or some other polysaccharide material which is unevenly laid down along the wall and concentrated at the junction with the intine. In pollen induced into embryogenesis by anther culture, wall material is also distributed irregularly around the detached cell in a series of discrete zones, but these are more extensive than in vivo, closer together and in many instances highly dilated. The wall profiles thus have a beaded appearance, the 'beads' being connected together by short links of the 2 apposed plasmalemmae. The contents of the swollen zones have a similar electron density to that of the matrix in vivo but also show traces of a fibrillar component. It is postulated that this unusual swelling is a prelude to dispersal of the wall by disruption of the plasmalemmal links and to the establishment of cytoplasmic continuity between the 2 cells. The significance of such binucleate pollen grains in the formation of non-haploid embryos is discussed.  (+info)

(8/2581) Pollen ultrastructure in anther cultures of Datura innoxia. III. Incomplete microspore division.

During the microspore division in Datura innoxia, the mitotic spindle is oriented in planes both perpendicular (PE) and oblique (OB) to the spore wall against which the nucleus is situated. However, irrespective of polarity, the usual type of hemispherical wall is laid down at cytokinesis and isolates the generative cell from the rest of the pollen grain (type A). In PE spores the vegetative nucleus initially occupies a central position in the pollen grain, whereas in OB spores the vegetative nucleus lies at the periphery of the grain close to the generative cell. In anther cultures initiated just before the microspore division is due to take place, no marked change can be observed in either orientation or symmetry of the mitotic spindle when the spores divide. In some, however, cytokinesis is disrupted and deposition of the hemispherical wall arrested. In the absence of a complete wall, differentiation of the generative cell cannot take place and binucleate pollen grains are formed having 2 vegetative-type nuclei (type B). The 2 nuclei in the B pollens are always situated against the pollen-grain wall, suggesting that the disruption phenomenon is related to the OB spores. The incomplete wall always makes contact with the intine on the intine-side of the spindle. Wall material may be represented merely as short stubs projecting out from the intine into the cytoplasm, in which event the 2 nuclei lie close to each other and are separated by only a narrow zone of cytoplasm. In other grains the wall is partially developed between the nuclei and terminates at varying distances from the tonoplast; in these, the nuclei are separated by a wider zone of cytoplasm. The significance of these binucleate grains in pollen embryogenesis is discussed.  (+info)