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Plant Cell. 2001 Mar;13(3):627-43.

Self-incompatibility in the genus Arabidopsis: characterization of the S locus in the outcrossing A. lyrata and its autogamous relative A. thaliana.

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Department of Plant Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA.


As a starting point for a phylogenetic study of self-incompatibility (SI) in crucifers and to elucidate the genetic basis of transitions between outcrossing and self-fertilizing mating systems in this family, we investigated the SI system of Arabidopsis lyrata. A. lyrata is an outcrossing close relative of the self-fertile A. thaliana and is thought to have diverged from A. thaliana approximately 5 million years ago and from Brassica spp 15 to 20 million years ago. Analysis of two S (sterility) locus haplotypes demonstrates that the A. lyrata S locus contains tightly linked orthologs of the S locus receptor kinase (SRK) gene and the S locus cysteine-rich protein (SCR) gene, which are the determinants of SI specificity in stigma and pollen, respectively, but lacks an S locus glycoprotein gene. As described previously in Brassica, the S haplotypes of A. lyrata differ by the rearranged order of their genes and by their variable physical sizes. Comparative mapping of the A. lyrata and Brassica S loci indicates that the S locus of crucifers is a dynamic locus that has undergone several duplication events since the Arabidopsis--Brassica split and was translocated as a unit between two distant chromosomal locations during diversification of the two taxa. Furthermore, comparative analysis of the S locus region of A. lyrata and its homeolog in self-fertile A. thaliana identified orthologs of the SRK and SCR genes and demonstrated that self-compatibility in this species is associated with inactivation of SI specificity genes.

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