Self-incompatibility in Papaver Pollen: Programmed Cell Death in an Acidic Environment

Ludi Wang, Zongcheng Lin, Marina Munoz Trivino, Moritz Nowack, Vernonica E. Franklin-Tong, Maurice Bosch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Self-incompatibility (SI) is a genetically controlled mechanism that prevents self-fertilization and thus encourages outbreeding and genetic diversity. During pollination, most SI systems utilize cell-cell recognition to reject incompatible pollen. Mechanistically, one of the best-studied SI systems is that of Papaver rhoeas (poppy), which involves the interaction between the two S-determinants, a stigma-expressed secreted protein (PrsS) and a pollen-expressed plasma membrane-localized protein (PrpS). This interaction is the critical step in determining acceptance of compatible pollen or rejection of incompatible pollen. Cognate PrpS-PrsS interaction triggers a signalling network causing rapid growth arrest and eventually programmed cell death (PCD) in incompatible pollen. In this review, we provide an overview of recent advances in our understanding of the major components involved in the SI-induced PCD (SI-PCD). In particular, we focus on the importance of SI-induced intracellular acidification and consequences for protein function, and the regulation of soluble inorganic pyrophosphatase (Pr-p26.1) activity by post-translational modification. We also discuss attempts to identify protease(s) involved in the SI-PCD process. Finally, we outline future opportunities made possible by the functional transfer of the P. rhoeas SI system to Arabidopsis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberery406
Pages (from-to)2113-2123
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2018


  • acidification
  • arabisopsis
  • caspase-like activity
  • Papaver rhoeas
  • pH
  • pollen
  • programmed cell death (PCD)
  • proteases
  • self-incompatibility (SI)
  • signalling
  • Arabidopsis
  • Acidification
  • Signalling
  • Self-incompatibility (SI)
  • Caspase-like activity
  • Proteases
  • PH
  • Pollen
  • Programmed cell death (PCD)
  • Plants, Genetically Modified/physiology
  • Papaver/physiology
  • Self-Incompatibility in Flowering Plants/physiology
  • Pollen/physiology
  • Arabidopsis/physiology
  • Environment
  • Apoptosis
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration


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