Evolution of the S-locus region in Arabidopsis relatives

Plant Physiol. 2011 Oct;157(2):937-46. doi: 10.1104/pp.111.174912. Epub 2011 Aug 2.


The S locus, a single polymorphic locus, is responsible for self-incompatibility (SI) in the Brassicaceae family and many related plant families. Despite its importance, our knowledge of S-locus evolution is largely restricted to the causal genes encoding the S-locus receptor kinase (SRK) receptor and S-locus cysteine-rich protein (SCR) ligand of the SI system. Here, we present high-quality sequences of the genomic region of six S-locus haplotypes: Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana; one haplotype), Arabidopsis lyrata (four haplotypes), and Capsella rubella (one haplotype). We compared these with reference S-locus haplotypes of the self-compatible Arabidopsis and its SI congener A. lyrata. We subsequently reconstructed the likely genomic organization of the S locus in the most recent common ancestor of Arabidopsis and Capsella. As previously reported, the two SI-determining genes, SCR and SRK, showed a pattern of coevolution. In addition, consistent with previous studies, we found that duplication, gene conversion, and positive selection have been important factors in the evolution of these two genes and appear to contribute to the generation of new recognition specificities. Intriguingly, the inactive pseudo-S-locus haplotype in the self-compatible species C. rubella is likely to be an old S-locus haplotype that only very recently became fixed when C. rubella split off from its SI ancestor, Capsella grandiflora.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Brassicaceae / genetics*
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Gene Conversion
  • Gene Duplication
  • Genome, Plant
  • Haplotypes
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Self-Incompatibility in Flowering Plants