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Genome Re-Sequencing of Diverse Sweet Cherry (Prunus avium) Individuals Reveals a Modifier Gene Mutation Conferring Pollen-Part Self-Compatibility

4 Mar 02:20:00 PM

The S-RNase-based gametophytic self-incompatibility (GSI) reproduction barrier is important for maintaining genetic diversity in species of the families Solanaceae, Plantaginaceae and Rosaceae. Among the plant taxa with S-RNase-based GSI, Prunus species in the family Rosaceae exhibit Prunus-specific self-incompatibility (SI). Although pistil S and pollen S determinants have been identified, the mechanism underlying SI remains uncharacterized in Prunusspecies. A putative pollen-part modifier was identified in this study. Disruption of this modifier supposedly confers self-compatibility (SC) to sweet cherry (Prunus avium) ‘Cristobalina’. To identify the modifier, genome re-sequencing experiments were completed involving sweet cherry individuals from 18 cultivars and 43 individuals in two segregating populations. Cataloging of subsequences (35 bp kmers) from the obtained genomic reads, while referring to the mRNA sequencing data, enabled the identification of a candidate gene [M locus-encoded GST (MGST)]. Additionally, the insertion of a transposon-like sequence in the putative MGST promoter region in ‘Cristobalina’ down-regulated MGST expression levels, probably leading to the SC of this cultivar. Phylogenetic, evolutionary and gene expression analyses revealed that MGSTmay have undergone lineage-specific evolution, and the encoded protein may function differently from the corresponding proteins encoded by GST orthologs in other species, including members of the subfamily Maloideae (Rosaceae). Thus, MGST may be important for Prunus-specific SI. The identification of this novel modifier will expand our understanding of the Prunus-specific GSI system. We herein discuss the possible functions of MGST in the Prunus-specific GSI system.