The FERONIA Receptor-like Kinase Mediates Male-Female Interactions During Pollen Tube Reception

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Science  03 Aug 2007:
Vol. 317, Issue 5838, pp. 656-660
DOI: 10.1126/science.1143562

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In flowering plants, signaling between the male pollen tube and the synergid cells of the female gametophyte is required for fertilization. In the Arabidopsis thaliana mutant feronia (fer), fertilization is impaired; the pollen tube fails to arrest and thus continues to grow inside the female gametophyte. FER encodes a synergid-expressed, plasma membrane–localized receptor-like kinase. We found that the FER protein accumulates asymmetrically in the synergid membrane at the filiform apparatus. Interspecific crosses using pollen from Arabidopsis lyrata and Cardamine flexuosa on A. thaliana stigmas resulted in a fer-like phenotype that correlates with sequence divergence in the extracellular domain of FER. Our findings show that the female control of pollen tube reception is based on a FER-dependent signaling pathway, which may play a role in reproductive isolation barriers.

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