A summary of recent work on molecular aspects of self-incompatibility in Nicotiana alata is presented. The amino acid sequences of style proteins corresponding to different S-alleles of N. alata have a high level of homology in some regions and are variable in other regions. The regions of homology include N-terminal sequences as well as most of the glycosylation sites and cysteine residues. The glycosyl substituents may consist of a number of 'glycoforms'. The isolated style S-glycoproteins inhibit in vitro growth of pollen tubes. The S-glycoproteins tested inhibited the growth of pollen of several S-genotypes, and there was some specificity in the interaction. Heat treatment of the isolated S-glycoproteins dramatically increased their activity as inhibitors of pollen tube growth, although the specificity in the interaction was lost. The nature of the S-allele products in pollen is not yet established.