Patterns of variation within self-incompatibility loci.
Diverse self-incompatibility (SI) mechanisms permit flowering plants to inhibit fertilization by pollen that express specificities in common with the pistil. Characteristic of at least two model systems is greatly reduced recombination across large genomic tracts surrounding the S-locus, which regulates SI. In three angiosperm families, including the Solanaceae, the gene that controls the expression of gametophytic SI in the pistil encodes a ribonuclease (S-RNase). The gene that controls pollen SI expression is currently unknown, although several candidates have recently been proposed. Although each candidate shows a high level of polymorphism and complete allelic disequilibrium with the S-RNase gene, such properties may merely reflect tight linkage to the S-locus, irrespective of any functional role in SI. We analyzed the magnitude and nature of nucleotide variation, with the objective of distinguishing likely candidates for regulators of SI from other genes embedded in the S-locus region. We studied the S-RNase gene of the Solanaceae and 48A, a candidate for the pollen gene in this system, and we also conducted a parallel analysis of the regulators of sporophytic SI in Brassica, a system in which both the pistil and pollen genes are known. Although the pattern of variation shown by the pollen gene of the Brassica system is consistent with its role as a determinant of pollen specificity, that of 48A departs from expectation. Our analysis further suggests that recombination between 48A and S-RNase may have occurred during the interval spanned by the gene genealogy, another indication that 48A may not regulate SI expression in pollen.
Takebayashi, N; Brewer, PB; Newbigin, E; Uyenoyama, MK
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