Untargeted metabolomic profiling reveals that different responses to self and cross pollination in each flower morph of the heteromorphic plant Plumbago auriculata.Plant Physiol Biochem 2019; 144:413-426PP
Heteromorphic self-incompatibility (HetSI), which is regulated by sporophytes, occurs in some species as a strategy to promote cross-pollination. This research aimed to reveal metabolic changes occurring in HetSI. We used fluorescence microscopy as a tool to compare growth behavior in self-incompatible (SI) and self-compatible (SC) pollination in both pin and thrum flowers of Plumbago auriculata and to identify the ideal timepoint for sample collection for subsequent experiments. We also employed scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to evaluate intermorph structural differences in the pollen grains and stigmas in relation to HetSI. Importantly, UPLC-MS/MS was applied in this study to identify metabolites, compare metabolic differences between pin and thrum styles and monitor metabolic changes in SC and SI pollinations in the two types of flowers. The metabolites mainly included amino acids/peptides, flavonoids, glycosides/sugars, phenols, other organic acids, fatty acids (derivatives)/lipids, amines, aldehydes, alkaloids, alcohols and other compounds. Surprisingly, energy-related nutrients such as amino acids/peptides and tricarboxylic acid cycle-related metabolites were found at higher levels in SI pollinations than in SC pollinations. This result indicates that physiological changes in pollen-stigma interactions differ in pin and thrum styles and SC and SI pollinations and that energy deficiency is not one of the reasons for HetSI.