J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2009, Vol. 51 ›› Issue (8): 782-791.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2009.00857.x

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Comparative Detection of Calcium Fluctuations in Single Female Sexual Cells of Tobacco to Distinguish Calcium Signals Triggered by in Vitro Fertilization

Xiong-Bo Peng, Mengxiang Sun* and Hongyuan Yang   

  1. ( 1 Key Laboratory of Ministry of Education for Plant Developmental Biology, College of Life Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China)
  • Received:2009-04-20 Accepted:2009-05-14 Published:2009-08-17
  • About author: *Author for correspondence. Tel: +86 27 8768 2378; Fax: +86 27 8764 6010; E-mail: mxsun@whu.edu.cn


Double fertilization is a key process of sexual reproduction in higher plants. The role of calcium in the activation of female sex cells through fertilization has recently received a great deal of attention. The establishment of a Ca2+-imaging technique for living, single, female sex cells is a difficult but necessary prerequisite for evaluating the role of Ca2+ in the transduction of external stimuli, including the fusion with the sperm cell, to internal cellular processes. The present study describes the use of Fluo-3 for reporting the Ca2+ signal in isolated, single, female sex cells, egg cells and central cells, of tobacco plants. A suitable loading protocol was optimized by loading the cells at pH 5.6 with 2 μM Fluo-3 for 30 min at 30◦C. Under these conditions, several key factors related to in vitro fertilization were also investigated in order to test their possible effects on the [Ca2+]cyt of the female sex cells. The results indicated that the bovine serum albumin-fusion system was superior to the polyethlene glycol-fusion system for detecting calcium fluctuations in female sex cells during fertilization. The central cell was fertilized with the sperm cell in bovine serum albumin; however, no evident calcium dynamic was detected, implying that a transient calcium rise might be a specific signal for egg cell fertilization.

Peng X-B, Sun M-X, Yang H-Y (2009). Comparative detection of calcium fluctuations in single female sex cells of tobacco to distinguish calcium signals triggered by in vitro fertilization. J. Integr. Plant Biol. 51(8), 782–791.

Key words: Fluo-3, cytosolic calcium, female cells, fertilization

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