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Mate choice in plants
Date:6/27/2008

ific (TTS), 120 kDa glycoprotein (120K), and pistil extension-like protein III (PELPIII), may play a role in movement of S-RNases into the pollen tube vacuoles and, if necessary, into the pollen tube cytoplasm, where they destroy RNA.

Cruz-Garcia and his colleagues have been investigating the non-S-locus factors in the tobacco species Nicotiana alata. They have recently identified and characterized another factor, Stigma Expressed Protein (NaStEP) in N. alata. Sequencing revealed that it is homologous to proteinase inhibitors, enzymes that prevent protein degradation, and that it contains a sequence that targets it to the vacuoles of unpollinated stigmas. If incompatible pollen lands on these stigmas, NaStEP is released into the stigmatic exudates where it associates with pollen tubes. If the NaStEP gene is silenced, the SI rejection system breaks down, so NaStEP clearly plays a role in the pollen rejection mechanism.

Because of their immobility, plants face numerous challenges to ensure reproductive success and genetic diversity. Remarkably, they have evolved more than one system of mate choice, and components of the best studied are still being discovered. Knowledge of these systems may help us engineer plant breeding systems more precisely to achieve greater yields and to provide built-in safeguards for preventing inadvertent pollination by and in pest or insecticide resistant crops or those bred to produce drugs or industrial materials.


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Contact: Dr. Felipe Cruz-Garcia
fcg@servidor.unam.mx
555-622-5279
American Society of Plant Biologists
Source:Eurekalert

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