Pollen tube growth: where does the energy come from? Academic Article uri icon


  • This review focuses on the energy metabolism during pollen maturation and tube growth and updates current knowledge. Pollen tube growth is essential for male reproductive success and extremely fast. Therefore, pollen development and tube growth are high energy-demanding processes. During the last years, various publications (including research papers and reviews) emphasize the importance of mitochondrial respiration and fermentation during male gametogenesis and pollen tube elongation. These pathways obviously contribute to satisfy the high energy demand, and there are many studies which suggest that respiration and fermentation are the only pathways to generate the needed energy. Here, we review data which show for the first time that in addition plastidial glycolysis and the balancing of the ATP/NAD(P)H ratio (by malate valves and NAD(+) biosynthesis) contribute to satisfy the energy demand during pollen development. Although the importance of energy generation by plastids was discounted during the last years (possibly due to the controversial opinion about their existence in pollen grains and pollen tubes), the available data underline their prime role during pollen maturation and tube growth.

publication date

  • 2014