Suspensor - Pollen Biology
The structure and function of suspensor have not been given adequate attention. During the last decade, however, investigations have produced noteworthy results. These include ultra structural, isoenzymatic, physiological, and in vitro experiments. A great deal of variation occurs in suspensor structure, probably modified to support the developing embryo. During 1950's and 1960's embryologists believed that it the suspensor is merely a morphological organ that pushes the embryo deeper into the more friendly environs of endosperm. This view is gaining reconsideration. The suspensor plays a more dynamic role than was hitherto assigned. The special kind of plastids present in legumes such as Pisum and Phaseolus and in Ipomoea and Tropaeolum show remarkable ultra structural changes around late heart-shaped stage of embryo.
The significance of these unusual plastids needs to be determined. Another feature of interest is the presence of wall embayments lined by plasma membrane in the suspensor cells supposed to be involved in short distance translocation of metabolites similar to transfer cells. Some experiments demonstrate the significance of presence of suspensor for proper development of the embryo. During early stages, removal of suspensor reduces embryo development but, at later stages, it has no effect. However, it is possible to replace, at least partially, the effect of suspensor loss by providing gibberellins in the culture medium. The finding is further substantiated by quantitative analysis of GA present in the suspensor and embryo proper cells. This GA has been identified as gibberellin Al. The relative concentrations of auxin in embryo proper and suspensor of Tropaeolum majus have been studied through single ion detection. The suspensor proper yields significantly higher concentrations of auxin. Likewise, in Phaseolus, the suspensor of heart-shaped embryo shows more cytokinin. However, at mid- cotyledonary stage, suspensor contains low cytokinin and the embryo seems to become autonomous for cytokinin.