Insight into S-RNase-based self-incompatibility in Petunia: Recent findings and future directions

Justin S. Williams, Lihua Wu, Shu Li, Penglin Sun, Teh Hui Kao

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38 Scopus citations


S-RNase-based self-incompatibility in Petunia is a self/non-self recognition system that allows the pistil to reject self-pollen to prevent inbreeding and to accept non-self pollen for outcrossing. Cloning of S-RNase in 1986 marked the beginning of nearly three decades of intensive research into the mechanism of this complex system. S-RNase was shown to be the sole female determinant in 1994, and the first male determinant, S-locus F-box protein1 (SLF1), was identified in 2004. It was discovered in 2010 that additional SLF proteins are involved in pollen specificity, and recently two S-haplotypes of Petunia inflata were found to possess 17 SLF genes based on pollen transcriptome analysis, further increasing the complexity of the system. Here, we first summarize the current understanding of how the interplay between SLF proteins and S-RNase in the pollen tube allows cross-compatible pollination, but results in self-incompatible pollination. We then discuss some of the aspects that are not yet elucidated, including uptake of S-RNase into the pollen tube, nature, and assembly of SLF-containing complexes, the biochemical basis for differential interactions between SLF proteins and S-RNase, and fate of non-self S-RNases in the pollen tube.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number41
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Issue numberFEB
StatePublished - Feb 5 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Plant Science


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