Implications of Ionising Radiation on Pollen Performance in Comparison with Diverse Tubular Cell Types

Author:  Octavian O. H. Stephan

Pre-published:  23 April 2020

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Research concerning the effects of ionising radiation (IR) on plant systems is essential for numerous aspects of human society, as for instance in terms of agriculture and plant breeding, but additionally for elucidating the implications of contaminating radionuclides on the earth´s ecosphere. Beyond that, findings regarding the molecular basis of plant IR-resistance are of relevance for human radiation protection as well. In this study, the effects of gamma-irradiation on plant male gametes are analysed in a comprehensive survey comprising data of diverse plant species, particularly focusing on pollen germination and tube growth. The IR-dose range for pollen performance of various plant species is compiled and the 50 percent inhibition doses for germination, tube growth, and resulting seed/fruit sets are compared and analysed in a molecular physiological context. The influences of several factors on IR-susceptibility of plant pollen and their tubes are analysed, such as dose response and effects of dose-rate, but also the roles of different environmental factors or individual plant species-related variations are evaluated. Additionally, all available literature suggesting bio-positive implications of ionising radiation on pollen performance is discussed. Moreover, for the first time the impact of IR particularly on polarised growth of different cell types from diverse phylogenetic species is compared and thus demonstrated that the cellular system of pollen and their tubes is exceptional resistant to IR, more than the plant sporophyte and especially much more than comparable animal cells.

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