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Plant Physiol. 2001 Apr;125(4):2095-103.

A pollen coat protein, SP11/SCR, determines the pollen S-specificity in the self-incompatibility of Brassica species.

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  • 1Graduate School of Biological Sciences, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Ikoma 630-0101, Japan.


Many flowering plants have evolved self-incompatibility (SI) systems to prevent inbreeding. In the Brassicaceae, SI is genetically controlled by a single polymorphic locus, termed the S-locus. Pollen rejection occurs when stigma and pollen share the same S-haplotype. Recognition of S-haplotype specificity has recently been shown to involve at least two S-locus genes, S-receptor kinase (SRK) and S-locus protein 11 or S-locus Cys-rich (SP11/SCR). SRK encodes a polymorphic membrane-spanning protein kinase, which is the sole female determinant of the S-haplotype specificity. SP11/SCR encodes a highly polymorphic Cys-rich small basic protein specifically expressed in the anther tapetum and in pollen. In cauliflower (B. oleracea), the gain-of-function approach has demonstrated that an allele of SP11/SCR encodes the male determinant of S-specificity. Here we examined the function of two alleles of SP11/SCR of B. rapa by the same approach and further established that SP11/SCR is the sole male determinant of SI in the genus Brassica sp. Our results also suggested that the 522-bp 5'-upstream region of the S9-SP11 gene used to drive the transgene contained all the regulatory elements required for the unique sporophytic/gametophytic expression observed for the native SP11 gene. Promoter deletion analyses suggested that the highly conserved 192-bp upstream region was sufficient for driving this unique expression. Furthermore, immunohistochemical analyses revealed that the protein product of the SP11 transgene was present in the tapetum and pollen, and that in pollen of late developmental stages, the SP11 protein was mainly localized in the pollen coat, a finding consistent with its expected biological role.

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