The Papaver Self-Incompatibility Pollen S-Determinant, PrpS, Functions in Arabidopsis thaliana

BH de Graaf, Sabina Vatovec, JA Juárez-Díaz, Lijun Chai, K Kooblall, Katie Wilkins, H Zou, T Forbes, Frederick Franklin, Vernonica Franklin Tong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)


Many angiosperms use specific interactions between pollen and pistil proteins as "self" recognition and/or rejection mechanisms to prevent self-fertilization. Self-incompatibility (SI) is encoded by a multiallelic S locus, comprising pollen and pistil S-determinants [1, 2]. In Papaver rhoeas, cognate pistil and pollen S-determinants, PrpS, a pollen-expressed transmembrane protein, and PrsS, a pistil-expressed secreted protein [3, 4], interact to trigger a Ca(2+)-dependent signaling network [5-10], resulting in inhibition of pollen tube growth, cytoskeletal alterations [11-13], and programmed cell death (PCD) [14, 15] in incompatible pollen. We introduced the PrpS gene into Arabidopsis thaliana, a self-compatible model plant. Exposing transgenic A. thaliana pollen to recombinant Papaver PrsS protein triggered remarkably similar responses to those observed in incompatible Papaver pollen: S-specific inhibition and hallmark features of Papaver SI [11-15]. Our findings demonstrate that Papaver PrpS is functional in a species with no SI system that diverged ∼140 million years ago [16]. This suggests that the Papaver SI system uses cellular targets that are, perhaps, common to all eudicots and that endogenous signaling components can be recruited to elicit a response that most likely never operated in this species. This will be of interest to biologists interested in the evolution of signaling networks in higher plants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-159
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


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