Exocyst SEC3 and phosphoinositides define sites of exocytosis in pollen tube initiation and growth

Daria Bloch, Roman Pleskot, Přemysl Pejchar, Martin Potocký, Pavlína Trpkošová, Lukasz Cwiklik, Nemanja Vukašinović, Hasana Sternberg, Shaul Yalovsky*, Viktor Žárský

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Polarized exocytosis is critical for pollen tube growth, but its localization and function are still under debate. The exocyst vesicletethering complex functions in polarized exocytosis. Here, we show that a sec3a exocyst subunit null mutant cannot be transmitted through the male gametophyte due to a defect in pollen tube growth. The green fluorescent protein (GFP)-SEC3a fusion protein is functional and accumulates at or proximal to the pollen tube tip plasma membrane. Partial complementation of sec3a resulted in the development of pollen with multiple tips, indicating that SEC3 is required to determine the site of pollen germination pore formation. Time-lapse imaging demonstrated that SEC3a and SEC8 were highly dynamic and that SEC3a localization on the apical plasma membrane predicts the direction of growth. At the tip, polar SEC3a domains coincided with cell wall deposition. Labeling of GFP-SEC3a-expressing pollen with the endocytic marker FM4-64 revealed the presence of subdomains on the apical membrane characterized by extensive exocytosis. In steady-state growing tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) pollen tubes, SEC3a displayed amino-terminal Pleckstrin homology-like domain (SEC3a-N)-dependent subapical membrane localization. In agreement, SEC3a-N interacted with phosphoinositides in vitro and colocalized with a phosphatidylinositol 4,5- bisphosphate (PIP2) marker in pollen tubes. Correspondingly, molecular dynamics simulations indicated that SEC3a-N associates with the membrane by interacting with PIP2. However, the interaction with PIP2 is not required for polar localization and the function of SEC3a in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). Taken together, our findings indicate that SEC3a is a critical determinant of polar exocytosis during tip growth and suggest differential regulation of the exocytotic machinery depending on pollen tube growth modes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)980-1002
Number of pages23
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2016


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