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The microtubular cytoskeleton during megasporogenesis in the Nun orchid, Phaius tankervilliae

  • S. H. TUNG (a1), X. L. YE (a2), S. Y. ZEE (a1) and E. C. YEUNG (a3)

Abstract

This study examines the microtubular cytoskeleton during megasporogenesis in the Nun orchid, Phaius tankervilliae. The subepidermal cell located at the terminal end of the nucellar filament differentiates first into an archesporial cell and then enlarges to become the megasporocyte. The megasporocyte undergoes the first meiotic division, giving rise to two dyad cells of unequal size. Immunostaining reveals that microtubules become more abundant as the megasporocyte increases in size. Microtubules congregate around the nucleus forming a distinct perinuclear array and many microtubules radiate directly from the nuclear envelope. In the megasporocyte, prominent microtubules are readily detected at the chalazal end of the cell cytoplasm. After meiosis I, the chalazal dyad cell expands in size at the expense of the micropylar dyad cell. At this stage, new microtubule organizing centres can be found at the corners of the cells. The appearance of these structures is stage-specific and they are not found at any other stages of megasporogenesis. The functional dyad cell undergoes the second meiotic division, resulting in the formation of two megaspores of unequal size. The chalazal megaspore enlarges and eventually gives rise to the embryo sac. As the functional megaspore expands, the microtubules again form a distinct perinuclear array with many microtubules radiating from the nuclear envelope. A defined cortical array of microtubules has not been found in P. tankervilliae during the course of megasporogenesis.

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Author for correspondence (tel +1 403 220 7186; fax: +1 403 289 9311; e-mail yeung@ucalgary.ca).

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