Journal Article

A light and electron microscopy analysis of the events leading to male sterility in Ogu-INRA CMS of rapeseed (<i>Brassica napus</i>)

Pablo González-Melendi, Magalie Uyttewaal, César N. Morcillo, José Ramón Hernández Mora, Susana Fajardo, Françoise Budar and M. Mercedes Lucas

in Journal of Experimental Botany

Published on behalf of Society for Experimental Biology

Volume 59, issue 4, pages 827-838
Published in print March 2008 | ISSN: 0022-0957
Published online March 2008 | e-ISSN: 1460-2431 | DOI:

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Ogura cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) occurs naturally in radish and has been introduced into rapeseed (Brassica napus) by protoplast fusion. As with all CMS systems, it involves a constitutively expressed mitochondrial gene which induces male sterility to otherwise hermaphroditic plants (so they become females) and a nuclear gene named restorer of fertility that restores pollen production in plants carrying a sterility-inducing cytoplasm. A correlative approach using light and electron microscopy was applied to define what stages throughout development were affected and the subcellular events leading to the abortion of the developing pollen grains upon the expression of the mitochondrial protein. Three central stages of development (tetrad, mid-microspore and vacuolate microspore) were compared between fertile, restored, and sterile plants. At each stage observed, the pollen in fertile and restored plants had similar cellular structures and organization. The deleterious effect of the sterility protein expression started as early as the tetrad stage. No typical mitochondria were identified in the tapetum at any developmental stage and in the vacuolate microspores of the sterile plants. In addition, some striking ultrastructural alterations of the cell's organization were also observed compared with the normal pattern of development. The results showed that Ogu-INRA CMS was due to premature cell death events of the tapetal cells, presumably by an autolysis process rather than a normal PCD, which impairs pollen development at the vacuolate microspore stage, in the absence of functional mitochondria.

Keywords: Brassica napus; cell death; light and electron microscopy; mitochondria; plastids; pollen development; Ogu-INRA cytoplasmic male sterility; transgenic-restored plants; tapetum

Journal Article.  6102 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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