During the evolution of flowering plants, their sperm cells have lost mobility and are transported from the stigma to the female gametophyte via the pollen tube to achieve double fertilization. Pollen tube growth and guidance is largely governed by the maternal sporophytic tissues of the stigma, style and ovule. However, the last phase of the pollen tube path is under female gametophyte control and is expected to require extensive cell–cell communication events between both gametophytes. Until recently, little was known about the molecules produced by the female gametophyte that are involved in this process. In the present paper, we review the most recent development in this field and focus on the role of secreted candidate signalling ligands.

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