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Nat Commun. 2016 Mar 11;7:10826. doi: 10.1038/ncomms10826.

A subunit of the oligosaccharyltransferase complex is required for interspecific gametophyte recognition in Arabidopsis.

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Department of Plant and Microbial Biology and Zürich-Basel Plant Science Center, University of Zürich, Zollikerstrasse 107, 8008 Zürich, Switzerland.


Species-specific gamete recognition is a key premise to ensure reproductive success and the maintenance of species boundaries. During plant pollen tube (PT) reception, gametophyte interactions likely allow the species-specific recognition of signals from the PT (male gametophyte) by the embryo sac (female gametophyte), resulting in PT rupture, sperm release, and double fertilization. This process is impaired in interspecific crosses between Arabidopsis thaliana and related species, leading to PT overgrowth and a failure to deliver the sperm cells. Here we show that ARTUMES (ARU) specifically regulates the recognition of interspecific PTs in A. thaliana. ARU, identified in a genome-wide association study (GWAS), exclusively influences interspecific--but not intraspecific--gametophyte interactions. ARU encodes the OST3/6 subunit of the oligosaccharyltransferase complex conferring protein N-glycosylation. Our results suggest that glycosylation patterns of cell surface proteins may represent an important mechanism of gametophyte recognition and thus speciation.

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