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Trends Plant Sci. 2011 May;16(5):238-41. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2011.01.002. Epub 2011 Feb 8.

Self-incompatibility: Smi silences through a novel sRNA pathway.

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  • 1CSIRO Plant Industry, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia.


Self-incompatibility in Brassicaceae is determined by the interaction between S-Locus Protein 11 (SP11) on the pollen and S-receptor kinase (SRK) in the stigma. Pollen from heterozygotes generally displays products of both SP11 alleles, but in some heterozygotes SP11 expression is monoallelic, with one allele (SP11(R)) being silenced by promoter methylation. An exciting development in understanding the mechanism behind monoallelic silencing came recently when Y. Tarutani et al. [Nature 2010;466:983-986] identified a 24-nucleotide sRNA (termed Smi) derived from a non-coding gene within the dominant S-haplotype, and suggested that Smi directs promoter methylation. We propose that rather than having a direct effect on DNA methylation, Smi is the first step in a novel cis-acting siRNA pathway that directs widespread monoallelic SP11(R) promoter methylation.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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