ATP depletion plays a pivotal role in self-incompatibility, revealing a link between cellular energy status, cytosolic acidification and actin remodelling in pollen tubes

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Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1691-1707
Number of pages17
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number5
Early online date23 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 03 Nov 2022
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Self-incompatibility (SI) involves specific interactions during pollination to reject incompatible (‘self’) pollen, preventing inbreeding in angiosperms. A key event observed in pollen undergoing the Papaver rhoeas SI response is the formation of punctate F-actin foci.

Pollen tube growth is heavily energy-dependent, yet ATP levels in pollen tubes have not been directly measured during SI. Here we used transgenic Arabidopsis lines expressing the Papaver pollen S-determinant to investigate a possible link between ATP levels, cytosolic pH ([pH]cyt) and alterations to the actin cytoskeleton.

We identify for the first time that SI triggers a rapid and significant ATP depletion in pollen tubes. Artificial depletion of ATP triggered cytosolic acidification and formation of actin aggregates. We also identify in vivo, evidence for a threshold [pH]cyt of 5.8 for actin foci formation. Imaging revealed that SI stimulates acidic cytosolic patches adjacent to the plasma membrane.

In conclusion, this study provides evidence that ATP depletion plays a pivotal role in SI upstream of programmed cell death and reveals a link between the cellular energy status, cytosolic acidification and alterations to the actin cytoskeleton in regulating Papaver SI in pollen tubes.


  • actin cytoskeleton, Arabidopsis, ATP, cytosolic acidification, Papaver rhoeas, pH, pollen tubes, self-incompatibility