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Origin of Allelic Diversity in Antirrhinum S Locus RNases

Yongbiao Xue, Rosemary Carpenter, Hugh G. Dickinson and Enrico S. Coen
The Plant Cell
Vol. 8, No. 5 (May, 1996), pp. 805-814
DOI: 10.2307/3870283
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3870283
Page Count: 10
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Origin of Allelic Diversity in Antirrhinum S Locus RNases
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Abstract

In many plant species, self-incompatibility (SI) is genetically controlled by a single multiallelic S locus. Previous analysis of S alleles in the Solanaceae, in which S locus ribonucleases (S RNases) are responsible for stylar expression of SI, has demonstrated that allelic diversity predated speciation within this family. To understand how allelic diversity has evolved, we investigated the molecular basis of gametophytic SI in Antirrhinum, a member of the Scrophulariaceae, which is closely related to the Solanaceae. We have characterized three Antirrhinum cDNAs encoding polypeptides homologous to S RNases and shown that they are encoded by genes at the S locus. RNA in situ hybridization revealed that the Antirrhinum S RNases are primarily expressed in the stylar transmitting tissue. This expression is consistent with their proposed role in arresting the growth of self-pollen tubes. S alleles from the Scrophulariaceae form a separate group from those of the Solanaceae, indicating that new S alleles have been generated since these families separated (∼40 million years). We propose that the recruitment of an ancestral RNase gene into SI occurred during an early stage of angiosperm evolution and that, since that time, new alleles subsequently have arisen at a low rate.

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