Self-incompatibility in a distylous species of Rubiaceae: is there a single incompatibility response of the morphs?Sex Plant Reprod 2009; 22(3):121-31SP
Heterostyly is a genetically controlled floral polymorphism usually associated with an incompatibility system. This set of features is known to occur in several angiosperm families, but some aspects of its biology has not been well studied. The present study investigates cellular aspects of the pollen-pistil interaction after compatible and incompatible pollinations of Psychotria nuda, to increase our knowledge of heteromorphic self-incompatibility (HetSI). The use of bright field, fluorescence and transmission electron microscopy methods allowed us to demonstrate that pollen tubes behave differently after incompatible and compatible pollinations. Pollen tubes were particularly distinct after incompatible pollinations of L- and S-morph flowers. Relative to compatible pollen tubes, incompatible L-morph tubes had a drastic reduction in cellular contents, but no cell rupture. Incompatible S-morph tubes exhibited dense cytoplasm in apical regions, as well as in other regions, accompanied by a rupture of the apex. These results support the hypothesis that L- and S-morph flowers have different incompatibility mechanisms during HetSI.