Self-incompatibility in Papaver: Identification of the pollen S-determinant PrpS

Natalie S. Poulter, Michael J. Wheeler, Maurice Bosch, Vernonica E. Franklin-Tong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Many flowering plants are hermaphrodite, posing the problem of self-fertilization and the subsequent loss of the genetic fitness of the offspring. To prevent this, many plants have developed a genetically controlled mechanism called self-incompatibility (SI). When the male and female S-determinants match, self (incompatible) pollen is recognized and rejected before fertilization can occur. In poppy (Papaver rhoeas), the pistil S-determinant (PrsS) is a small secreted protein that interacts with incompatible pollen, initiating a Ca2+-dependent signalling network. SI triggers several downstream events, including depolymerization of the cytoskeleton, phosphorylation of two soluble inorganic pyrophosphatases and an MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase). This culminates in PCD (programmed cell death) involving several caspase-like activities. The recent discovery of the Papaver pollen S-determinant PrpS marks a significant step forward in the understanding of the Papaver SI system. PrpS encodes a ~20 kDa predicted transmembrane protein which has no homology with known proteins. It is specifically expressed in pollen, linked to the pistil S-determinant, and displays the high polymorphism expected of an S-locus determinant. The present review focuses on the discovery and characterization of PrpS which strongly support the hypothesis that Papaver SI is triggered by the interaction of PrsS and PrpS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)588-592
Number of pages5
JournalBiochemical Society Transactions
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2010


  • calcium signalling
  • Papaver
  • pollen
  • programmed cell death
  • S-determinant
  • self-incompatibility


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