Plants reveal pollen-luring secrets

Plants reveal pollen-luring secrets

Discovery marks first molecule known to attract pollen into a plant

By Rachel Zelkowitz, 08:52 AM March 18, 2009

For more than a century, researchers have marveled at how pollen creeps down into a plant, growing a tube that twists and turns to reach the target ovary. But the nature of the siren song guiding this descent remained a mystery until now. For the first time, researchers have pinpointed the exact molecules one plant uses to attract pollen tubes to its reproductive organs.

The proteins, which researchers in Japan and Germany dubbed LUREs, can signal to pollen tubes from as great a distance as...

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