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Prof. Noni Franklin-Tong from University of Birmingham Visits HZAU

On the afternoon of March 7, Professor Noni Franklin-Tong from the University of Birmingham, UK, visited HZAU at the invitation of Chai Lijun, Associate Professor from the Department of Fruit Tree, College of Horticulture and Forestry Sciences, and made a report entitled “Pollen-pistil Interactions: Signaling Cell Death and Engineering Self-incompatibility in Arabidopsis Thaliana Plants”. The report was chaired by Associate Professor Chai.

Prof. Noni first introduced the necessity of the research on self-incompatibility: about 85% of flowering plants are quite particular about the species they are paired with, so not many options are available, and the occurrence probability of latent diseases may increase substantially in descendants if the same species pair with each other. The fact that about 50% of angiosperms use the self-incompatibility mechanism to prevent self-fertilization reminds us of the possibility that such a mechanism can also apply to flowering plants to greatly reduce the likelihood of self-fertilization without removing their stamens or pistils. Subsequently, taking papaveraceae as an example, she gave a detailed introduction to the self-incompatibility mechanism.

Then, Prof. Noni introduced her students' research results from different directions under the study of self-incompatibility, including 1. The phosphorylation of sPPases, a potential regulatory mechanism, which can weaken cellular metabolism; 2. Biochemical processes related to plant self-incompatibility mechanisms during pollination; 3. The method of the application of self-incompatibility mechanism of opium poppy to other plants; 4. The discovery of Prps, an important material of plant self-incompatibility, and the role it plays in plant self-incompatibility. She said that all the researches were based on the complex but flexible signal transmission network of plants, and further research could only be done with a good knowledge of signal transmission network .

At the end of the report, Prof. Noni pointed out that whether self-incompatibility mechanism can be widely applied to cash crops such as wheat and citrus and even to all plants in the future, is a problem to be solved by all students. After the report, the students had an in-depth discussion with her on the report contents.

(By Zou Xiaofang)