The self-pollination barrier of self-incompatibility in the Brassicaceae is based on the activity of a polymorphic stigma receptor and its pollen ligand, whose allele-specific interaction triggers a signaling cascade within the stigma epidermal cell that culminates in the inhibition of pollen tube development. Recent analyses have identified signaling intermediates and revealed unexpected cross-talk between self-incompatibility signaling and pistil development. The self-incompatibility response is now thought to be based on a phosphorylation and ubiquitin-mediated degradation pathway that inhibits the secretion of factors required for successful pollination. Because manipulation of the identified signaling intermediates results in only partial disruption of the self-incompatibility reaction, this pathway likely functions in conjunction with other as-yet unidentified signaling pathways to effect complete inhibition of self-pollen.
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