Ultrastructural features of embryogenic pollen in Datura innoxia are described, just prior to, during, and after completion of the first division of the presumptive vegetative cell. In anther cultures initiated towards the end of the microspore phase and incubated at 28 degrees C in darkness, the spores divide within 24 h and show features consistent with those of dividing spores in vivo. Cytokinesis is also normal in most of the spores and the gametophytic cell-plate curves round the presumptive generative nucleus in the usual highly ordered way. Further differentiation of the 2 gametophytic cells does not take place and the pollen either switches to embryogenesis or degenerates. After 48–72 h, the remaining viable pollen shows the vegetative cell in division. The cell, which has a large vacuole and thin layer of parietal cytoplasm carried over from the microspore, divides consistently in a plane parallel to the microspore division. The dividing wall follows a less-ordered course than the gametophytic wall and usually traverses the vacuole, small portions of which are incorporated into the daughter cell adjacent to the generative cell. The only structural changes in the vegetative cell associated with the change in programme appear to be an increase in electron density of both plastids and mitochondria and deposition of an electron-dense material (possibly lipid) on the tonoplast. The generative cell is attached to the intine when the vegetative cell divides. Ribosomal density increases in the generative cell and exceeds that in the vegetative cell. A thin electron-dense layer also appears in the generative-cell wall. It is concluded that embryogenesis commences as soon as the 2 gametophytic cells are laid down. Gene activity associated with postmitotic synthesis of RNA and protein in the vegetative cell is switched off. The data are discussed in relation to the first division of the embryogenic vegetative cells in Nicotiana tabacum.

This content is only available via PDF.