Arabidopsis mutants deficient in flavonoid and sinapate ester (tt4 and fah1-7, respectively) were evaluated in vivo and in vitro to study the possible role of flavonoid compounds in pollen tube growth. In vivo, we investigated pollen tube growth in the pistils of the mutants and wild type(Ler). The growth of pollen tubes was significantly different among the three genotypes. In the fal1-7 pistils, the tubes grew to a greater length relative to those of the wild type or tt4. To examine in vitro pollen tube growth, a solid medium was devised for pollen germination and subsequent growth. In vitro, the identical result was obtained; fahl-7 pollens developed the longest tubes and elongated most rapidly. Therefore, the growth response of pollen tubes to phenolic compounds was examined by adding quercetin or sinapate ester in various concentrations to the media. Quercetin enhanced both germination rate and tube growth in the pollens of the mutants and the wild type, especially in tt4. In contrast, sinapate ester inhibits pollen germination and pollen tube growth in three genotypes. These results suggest that flavonoids and related phenolic compounds have physiological role in the plant reproductive system.
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