The growth of pollen tubes is supported by the continuous supply of secretory vesicles in the tip area. Movement and accumulation of vesicles is driven by the dynamic interplay between the actin cytoskeleton and motor proteins of the myosin family. A combination of the two protein systems is also responsible for the bidirectional movement of larger organelle classes. In contrast, the role of microtubules and microtubule-based motors is less clear and often ambiguous. Nevertheless, there is evidence which shows that the pollen tube contains a number of microtubule-based motors of the kinesin family. These motor proteins are likely to be associated with pollen tube organelles and, consequently, they have been hypothesized to participate in the distribution of organelles during pollen tube growth. Whether microtubule motor proteins take part in either the transport or positioning of organelles is not known for sure, but there is evidence for this second possibility. This review will discuss the current knowledge of microtubule-based motor proteins (including kinesins and hypothetical dyneins) and will make some hypothesis about their role in the pollen tube.
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