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Open Access Research article

STIL, a peculiar molecule from styles, specifically dephosphorylates the pollen receptor kinase LePRK2 and stimulates pollen tube growth in vitro

Diego L Wengier1, María A Mazzella1, Tamara M Salem1, Sheila McCormick34 and Jorge P Muschietti12*

Author Affiliations

1 Instituto de Ingeniería Genética y Biología Molecular (INGEBI), CONICET, Vuelta de Obligado 2490, 1428 Buenos Aires, Argentina

2 Departamento de Fisiología y Biología Molecular y Celular, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina

3 Plant Gene Expression Center, United States Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service, 800 Buchanan Street, Albany, California 94710, USA

4 Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California 94720, USA

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BMC Plant Biology 2010, 10:33  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-10-33

Published: 22 February 2010



LePRK1 and LePRK2 are two pollen receptor kinases localized to the plasma membrane, where they are present in a high molecular weight complex (LePRK complex). LePRK2 is phosphorylated in mature and germinated pollen, but is dephosphorylated when pollen membranes are incubated with tomato or tobacco style extracts.


Here we show that LePRK2 dephosphorylation is mediated by a heat-, acid-, base-, DTT- and protease-resistant component from tobacco styles. Using LePRK2 phosphorylation as a tracking assay for purification, style exudates were subjected to chloroform extraction, anionic exchange, and C18 reverse-phase chromatography columns. We finally obtained a single ~3,550 Da compound (as determined by UV-MALDI-TOF MS) that we named STIL (for Style Interactor for LePRKs). STIL increased pollen tube lengths of in vitro germinated pollen in a dose-dependent manner.


We propose that the LePRK complex perceives STIL, resulting in LePRK2 dephosphorylation and an increase in pollen tube growth.