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Asquini, E.; Gerdol, M.; Gasperini, D.; Igic, B.; Graziosi, G.; Pallavicini, A. S-RNase-like Sequences in Styles of Coffea (Rubiaceae). Evidence for S-RNase Based Gametophytic Self-Incompatibility? Trop Plant Biol 4, 237-249, (2011) DOI: 10.1007/s12042-011-9085-2

Although RNase-based self-incompatibility (SI) is suspected to operate in a wide group of plant families, it has been characterized as the molecular genetic basis of SI in only three distantly related families, Solanaceae, Plantaginaceae, and Rosaceae, all described over a decade ago. Previous studies found that gametophytic SI, controlled by a multi-allelic S-locus, operates in the coffee family (Rubiaceae). The molecular genetic basis of this mechanism remains unknown, despite the immense importance of coffee as an agricultural commodity. Here, we isolated ten sequences with features of T2-S-type RNases from two Coffea species. While three of the sequences were identified in both species and clearly do not appear to be S-locus products, our data suggest that six sequences may be S-alleles in the self-incompatible C. canephora, and one may be a relict in the self-compatible C. arabica. We demonstrate that these sequences show style-specific expression, display polymorphism in C. canephora, and cluster with S-locus products in a phylogenetic analysis that includes other plant families with RNase-based SI. Although our results are not definitive, in part because the available plant materials were limited and data patterns relatively complex, our results strongly hint that RNase-based SI mechanism operates in the Rubiaceae family.
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