Detection of changes in the nuclear phase and evaluation of male germ units by flow cytometry during in vitro pollen tube growth in Alstroemeria aurea
This study aimed to analyze male gamete behavior from mature pollen to pollen tube growth in the bicellular pollen species Alstroemeria aurea. For mature pollen, pollen protoplasts were examined using flow cytometry. The protoplasts showed two peaks of DNA content at 1C and 1.90C. Flow cytometry at different developmental stages of pollen tubes cultured in vitro revealed changes in the nuclear phase at 9 and 18 h after culture. Sperm cell formation occurred at 6–9 h after culture, indicating that the first change was due to the division of the generative cells into sperm cells. After sperm cell formation, the number of vegetative nucleus associations with sperm cells showed a tendency to increase. This association was suggested as the male germ unit (MGU). When sperm cells, vegetative nuclei, and partial MGUs were collected separately from pollen tubes cultured for 18 h and analyzed using a flow cytometer, the sperm cells and vegetative nuclei contained 1C DNA, while the DNA content of partial MGUs was counted as 2C. Therefore, the second change in the nuclear phase, which results in an increase in 2C nuclei, is possibly related to the formation of MGUs.