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Plant J. 2002 Mar;29(5):627-36.

Cultivated tomato has defects in both S-RNase and HT genes required for stylar function of self-incompatibility.

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Faculty of Bioresources, Mie University, Tsu 514-8507, Japan.


Cultivated tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum), a self-compatible species, evolved from self-incompatible (SI) species in the genus Lycopersicon following a breakdown of the self-incompatibility system. In order to elucidate the molecular basis of this breakdown in L. esculentum, we first analysed the stylar proteins with an in-gel assay for ribonuclease activity and 2D-PAGE. No S-RNase protein or its activity was detected in the style of L. esculentum. We then introduced the S6-RNase gene from an SI relative, L. peruvianum, into L. esculentum. However, the styles of transgenic plants expressing S6-RNase at levels comparable to those found in the L. peruvianum style were unable to reject self-pollen and L. peruvianum pollen in an allele-specific manner. This indicated that defect in the S-RNase expression was not the sole reason for the loss of self-incompatibility in tomato. The asparagine-rich HT protein, originally identified from the style of Nicotiana alata, is the other stylar factor involved in self-incompatibility reaction. We cloned and sequenced two distinct genes encoding HT-A and HT-B proteins from L. peruvianum (LpHT-A and LpHT-B) and L. esculentum (LeHT-A and LeHT-B). A frame shift mutation in the coding sequence of LeHT-A and a stop codon in the ORF of LeHT-B were found, and no LeHT-B transcript was detected in the style of L. esculentum. The results suggest that the breakdown of self-incompatibility in cultivated tomato is associated with loss-of-function mutations in both S-RNase and HT genes.

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