J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 1982, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (1): -.

• Research Articles •    

Fertilization in Pinus Bungeana

Chen Zu-keng and Wang Fu-hsiung   

Abstract: Pinus bungeana is a species endemic to China and as yet its embryology has not been reported. The present paper deals with its process of fertilization in some details. 1. The development of the male gamete and the structure of the archegonium. The spermatogenous cell has already divided into two uniqual male gametes in the middle of May (in 1978, at Peking), about ten days before fertilization. Both sperms are spheroidal to ellipsoidal. The larger sperm is about 94 × 65 μm and the smaller one, about 72 × 58 μm in size. As the pollen tube approaches the archegonium the two sperms move toward the apex of the tube together with the remaining contents. Generally the larger sperm precedes the smaller one. The cytoplasmic contents also contain a sterile cell, 3—43×2—29 μm in size and a tube nuleus, 15—30 μm in diamter, besides the sperms. A mass of starch grains of more or less similar to sperm in size is also included in the contents of the pollen tube. Generally 3—4, even up to 7–8 pollen grains germinate normally within an ovule. Therefore, many sperms (up to 14—16) may be present on the same nucellus. The archegonium is elongato-ellipsoidal, about 870 ×500 μm in size. Arehegonia are single, 2—(3—5) in number, with 2 neck cells and a layer of jacket cells. The central cell divided in the middle of May and gave rise to the ventral canal cell and the egg. As the archegonium matures the cytoplasm becomes radiate fibrillae around the egg nucleus. The egg nucleus is large, 150—226 μm in diameter. One large nucleolus, 22—25 μm in diameter and sometimes up to 50; small nueleoli are present within the nucleus. 2. Fertilization Pollination takes place in the first week of May and fertilization will be effected from the end of May to the first week of June of next year. The interval between pollinatin and fertilization in P. bungeana is about thirteen months and the lapse of time is almost similar to most of the Pinus so far recorded. When the pollen tube contacts the archegonium through the neck cells all its contents are discharged into the egg cell. Usually the larger sperm fuses with the egg nucleus and the rest of the contents stays in the upper part of the egg cell. It is interesting to note that the nonfunctional second sperm also moves toward the egg nucleus and often divides by mitosis; and this phenomenon is not reported elsewhere. At the earlier stage of the fusion between male and female nuclei the male nucleoplasm is dense and finely granular while the female nucleoplasm is thin and coarsely granular, hence the boundary between them is very clear. The nuclear membranes of both nuclei persist for a long time. After the male nucleus sinks into the female nucleus completely, both nuclei begin to divide and enter into the prophase and then the metaphase simultaneously. By this time the paternal and maternal chromosome sets with their spindles still remain at certain distance from each other. Then the paternal chromosomes with their spindle move gradually toward the maternal ones. At first a multipolar common spindle appears as the maternal and paternal spindles with their chromosomes merge together. Finally a regular bipolar spindle is formed and both the maternal and paternal chromosomes become arranged on the equatorial plate. In the meantime, the process of fusion is complete and the zygote is at the stage of metaphase. At the moment the spindle looks greater in width than in length, being about 80×65—70 μm in size. 3. Supernumerary nuclei and sperms. The ventral canal cell degenerates soon after its formation. While the supernumerary sperms divide usually after their entrance into the egg cell. Therefore, the supernumerary nuclei probably derive directly from the smaller sperms or indirectly from mitoses of the larger ones Generally the nucleoplasm of the supernumerary nuclei is rather thin while the nucleoplasm of the undivided sperms is rather dense. This shows that the former is in the state of degeneration. The supernumerary nuclei of P. bungeana are as many as 7, their usual size being 43—58×32—43 μm. In the upper part of some egg cells there are still secondary smaller sperms about the size of 36 × 29 μm, Their volume is just about half of the usual smaller sperm. Probably they are derived from the division of the smaller sperms.

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