Background For the Solanaceae-type self-incompatibility, also possessed by Rosaceae and Plantaginaceae, the specificity of self/non-self interactions between pollen and pistil is controlled by two polymorphic genes at the S-locus: the S-locus F-box gene (SLF or SFB) controls pollen specificity and the S-RNase gene controls pistil specificity. ScopeThis review focuses on the work from the authors laboratory using Petunia inflata (Solanaceae) as a model. Here, recent results on the identification and functional studies of S-RNase and SLF are summarized and a protein-degradation model is proposed to explain the biochemical mechanism for specific rejection of self-pollen tubes by the pistil. ConclusionsThe protein-degradation model invokes specific degradation of non-self S-RNases in the pollen tube mediated by an SLF, and can explain compatible versus incompatible pollination and the phenomenon of competitive interaction, where SI breaks down in pollen carrying two different S-alleles. In Solanaceae, Plantaginaceae and subfamily Maloideae of Rosaceae, there also exist multiple S-locus-linked SLF/SFB-like genes that potentially function as the pollen S-gene. To date, only three such genes, all in P. inflata, have been examined, and they do not function as the pollen S-gene in the S-genotype backgrounds tested. Interestingly, subfamily Prunoideae of Rosaceae appears to possess only a single SLF/SFB gene, and competitive interaction, observed in Solanaceae, Plantaginaceae and subfamily Maloideae, has not been observed. Thus, although the cytotoxic function of S-RNase is an integral part of SI in Solanaceae, Plantaginaceae and Rosaceae, the function of SLF/SFB may have diverged. This highlights the complexity of the S-RNase-based SI mechanism. The review concludes by discussing some key experiments that will further advance our understanding of this self/non-self discrimination mechanism.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science