Author(s): Bentolila S, Alfonso AA, Hanson MR
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Abstract Known in over 150 species, cytoplasmic male sterility is encoded by aberrant mitochondrial genes that prevent pollen development. The RNA- or protein-level expression of most of the mitochondrial genes encoding cytoplasmic male sterility is altered in the presence of one or more nuclear genes called restorers of fertility that suppress the male-sterile phenotype. Cytoplasmic male sterility/restorer systems have been proven to be an invaluable tool in the production of hybrid seeds. Despite their importance for both the production of major crops such as rice and sunflower and the study of organelle/nuclear interactions in plants, none of the nuclear fertility-restorer genes that reduce the expression of aberrant mitochondrial proteins have previously been cloned. Here we report the isolation of a gene directly involved in the control of the expression of a cytoplasmic male sterility-encoding gene. The Petunia restorer of fertility gene product is a mitochondrially targeted protein that is almost entirely composed of 14 repeats of the 35-aa pentatricopeptide repeat motif. In a nonrestoring genotype we identified a homologous gene that exhibits a deletion in the promoter region and is expressed in roots but not in floral buds.
This article was published in Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
and referenced in Journal of Data Mining in Genomics & Proteomics