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Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS

, Volume 58, Issue 14, pp 1988–2007 | Cite as

Mechanisms of self-incompatibility in flowering plants

  • N. F. Silva
  • D. R. Goring

Abstract.

Self-incompatibility is a widespread mechanism in flowering plants that prevents inbreeding and promotes outcrossing. The self-incompatibility response is genetically controlled by one or more multi-allelic loci, and relies on a series of complex cellular interactions between the self-incompatible pollen and pistil. Although self-incompatibility functions ultimately to prevent self-fertilization, flowering plants have evolved several unique mechanisms for rejecting the self-incompatible pollen. The self-incompatibility system in the Solanaceae makes use of a multi-allelic RNase in the pistil to block incompatible pollen tube growth. In contrast, the Papaveraceae system appears to have complex cellular responses such as calcium fluxes, actin rearrangements, and programmed cell death occurring in the incompatible pollen tube. Finally, the Brassicaceae system has a receptor kinase signalling pathway activated in the pistil leading to pollen rejection. This review highlights the recent advances made towards understanding the cellular mechanisms involved in these self-incompatibility systems and discusses the striking differences between these systems.

Key words. Self-incompatibility; S locus; S-RNase; S protein; S locus glycoprotein; S receptor kinase. 

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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. F. Silva
    • 1
  • D. R. Goring
    • 1
  1. 1.Biology Department, York University, Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3 (Canada)CA

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