Journal Article

Arabinogalactan-protein secretion is associated with the acquisition of stigmatic receptivity in the apple flower

Juan M. Losada and María Herrero

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 110, issue 3, pages 573-584
Published in print August 2012 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online May 2012 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI:

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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Background and Aims

Stigmatic receptivity plays a clear role in pollination dynamics; however, little is known about the factors that confer to a stigma the competence to be receptive for the germination of pollen grains. In this work, a developmental approach is used to evaluate the acquisition of stigmatic receptivity and its relationship with a possible change in arabinogalactan-proteins (AGPs).


Flowers of the domestic apple, Malus × domestica, were assessed for their capacity to support pollen germination at different developmental stages. Stigmas from these same stages were characterized morphologically and different AGP epitopes detected by immunocytochemistry.

Key Results

Acquisition of stigmatic receptivity and the secretion of classical AGPs from stigmatic cells occurred concurrently and following the same spatial distribution. While in unpollinated stigmas AGPs appeared unaltered, in cross-pollinated stigmas AGPs epitopes vanished as pollen tubes passed by.


The concurrent secretion of AGPs with the acquisition of stigmatic receptivity, together with the differential response in unpollinated and cross-pollinated pistils point out a role of AGPs in supporting pollen tube germination and strongly suggest that secretion of AGPs is associated with the acquisition of stigma receptivity.

Keywords: AGPs; arabinogalactan proteins; apple; Malus × domestica; pollen; pollen tube; stigma; stigmatic receptivity; flower receptivity

Journal Article.  6886 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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