The development of the generative cell (GC) was examined in the bicellular pollen of Cyrtandra pendula. The essential stages are: (1) GC attached to the inline, (2) GC detached and spheroidal in shape, (3) GC mature and elongated. Cisternae of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of the vegetative cell are in close contact with the GC at all stages of development. In stages (1) and (2) the entire, slightly undulated surface of the GC is surrounded by tightly appressed, single ER tubules or short stacks. In mature pollen grains (stage 3) the shape of the GC as well as the arrangement of the surrounding ER changes conspicuously. The GC is now spindleshaped and its surface is wrinkled. An ER tubule is present in each invagination. These ER tubules form a cage-like framework around the GC. In the cytoplasm of the generative cell, 6 to 7 microtubular bundles with longitudinal orientation can be observed. They seem to be responsible for maintaining the elongate shape of the GC. During all stages of development vegetative ER cisternae are the only elements intimately associated with the GC wall. This feature indicates that the ER may contribute to the formation of the undulated outer shape of the GC. Also discussed is the possibility that energy-carrying substances are conveyed into the GC through the channels of ER.
The generative cell and its close association with the endoplasmic reticulum of the vegetative cell in pollen of Cyrtandra pendula (Gesneriaceae)