Effects of RNases on rejection of pollen from Nicotiana tabacum and N. plumbaginifolia
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S-RNases are implicated in both inter- and intra-specific pollen rejection in Nicotiana. At least two mechanisms contribute to S-RNase dependent rejection of pollen from self compatilble species such as Nicotiana plumbaginifolia and N. tabacum. Cloned S-RNases from self incompatible N. alata expressed in styles of self compatible N. tabacum cause rejection of N. tabacum pollen through a factor-independent mechanism. However, rejection of N. plumbaginifolia pollen occurs only when S-RNases are expressed in conjunction with non-S-RNase factors from N. alata (factor-dependent pollen rejection). Here, we compared the pollen rejection activity of four RNases in these two systems. Recombinant RNase expression levels in the factor-dependent N. plumbaginifolia system were insufficient to cause pollen rejection. However, three S-RNases were active in the factor-independent N. tabacum pollen rejection system. This system shows the broadest specificity of any system so far examined. However, RNaseI from E. coli could not cause N. tabacum pollen rejection. Thus, RNase activity alone is not sufficient for pollen rejection. Our results suggest that S-RNases are specially adapted to function in pollen rejection.
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