Gametophyte–Sporophyte Interactions in the Pollen–Pistil System: 3. Hormonal Status at the Progamic Phase of Fertilization

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The content of hormones, IAA, ABA, and cytokinins, as well as the rate of ethylene production in petunia (Petunia hybrida L.) pistils and their parts (stigma, style, and ovary) were determined over 8 h after compatible pollination. At the progamic phase of fertilization in the pollen–pistil system, the phytohormones were virtually absent from the ovary but were present in various proportions in stigma and style. The stigma was the main site of ethylene synthesis and contained 90% of ABA while the style contained 80% of cytokinins of their contents in the whole pollinated pistil. Stigma and style did not differ in their IAA levels. The interaction of the male gametophyte with the stigmatic tissues was accompanied by a threefold increase in the ethylene production and a 1.5-fold increase in the IAA content in the pollen–pistil system within 0–4 h. Growth of pollen tubes in the stylar tissues (4–8 h) was accompanied by a further increase in IAA content and a decrease in the ethylene production by stigmatic tissues, as well as by a decrease in the cytokinin content in the stylar tissues. The ethylene/auxin status of the stigma may be suggested to control the processes of adhesion, hydration, and germination of pollen grains during pollination, while the auxin/cytokinin status of the style controls the pollen tube growth.

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