J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 1985, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (4): -.

• Research Articles •    

Isolation of Viable Embryo Sacs and Their Protoplasts of Nicotiana tabacum

Hu Shi-yi, Li Le-gong and Zhu Cheng   

Abstract: Isolation of fixed and fresh embryo sacs has been reported. However,the isolation of protoplasts of embryo sac elements is reported here for the first time.The protoplasts of egg cell, synergids, central cell and antipodal cells have been isolated with the retaining of their viability. Though this is a preliminary work, it indicatesthe potentiality of isolation of naked female gametes of angiosperms, which may beused in genetic manipulation and plant biotechnology. Nicotiana tabacum was grown in the greenhouse of the Department of Biology,Peking University. From opened and unpollinated flowers, the ovaries were removedand sterilized with 70% alcohol. The ovules were dissected out from those ovaries andfollowed by incubation (4–8 hrs. 28℃) in anenzyme solution containing 2% driselase, 0.65 M mannitol and 0.25% potassium dextran sulfate. Ovules from 3 4 ovariescould be incubated with 1 ml of enzyme solution in a 3 cm petri dish. All these manipulations and the following procedures were carried out under sterile conditions. Afterincubation, ovules were washed 3 times with a washing solution of 0.65 M mannitol.The isolated embryo, sacs and their protoplasts were obtained by gently squashing digested ovules in a small volume of washing solution on a slide. When the fresh ovules were incubated 3–3.5 hrs in the enzyme solution, the embryosacs may be successfully isolated in an intact manner, either for mature or immatureembryo sacs. The isolated embryo sac looked plump, viable and very distinct in itsstructure. If the isolated embryo sacs were incubated in 0.01% fluorescein diacetate(FDA) used as a test for the viability of the embryo sac, and observed under fluorescein microscope, the cytoplasm of all embryo sac elements, including egg cell, synergids,central cell and antipodal cells, showed strong fluorescence. It is proved that these iso-lated embryo sacs are still viable. When the incubation of ovules was prolonged as to 8 hrs in certain cases, theboundary wall of the embryo sac may be partially digested and the protoplasts of embryo sac elements came out from micropylar or chalazal end after squashing. The difference of the protoplasts derived from different embryo sac elements could be recognized by their relative size and other characteristics. The egg protoplast is smallerthan that of the synergid. However, the protoplasts of antipodal cells were. obviouslysmaller than that of egg. But the central cell protoplast was the largest among theseprotoplasts and possessed two polar nuclei and a very large central vacuole. All theseisolated protoplasts of embryo sac elements were also proved viable with FDA method. The importance of isolated protoplasts of embryo sac elements is discussed withrespect to genetic manipulations.

Key words: Isolation of embryo sac, Isolation of embryo sac elements, Protoplast, Nitotiana tabacum

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