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Premature dissolution of the microsporocyte callose wall causes male-sterility in transgenic tobacco

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • D L HIRD
  • W PAUL
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>07/1992
<mark>Journal</mark>Plant Cell
Issue number7
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)759-771
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Male sterility in a petunia cytoplasmic male sterile line has been attributed to the early appearance of active callase, a beta-1,3-glucanase, in the anther locule. This leads to premature dissolution of the callose walls surrounding the microsporogenous cells. We have mimicked this aspect of the petunia line in transgenic tobacco by engineering the secretion of a modified pathogenesis-related vacuolar beta-1,3-glucanase from the tapetum prior to the appearance of callase activity in the locule. Plants expressing the modified glucanase from tapetum-specific promoters exhibited reduced male fertility, ranging from complete to partial male sterility. Callose appearance and distribution are normal in the male sterile transgenic plants up to prophase 1, whereupon callose is prematurely degraded. Meiosis and cell division occur normally. The resultant microspores have an abnormally thin cell wall that lacks sculpturing. The tapetum shows hypertrophy. Male sterility is probably caused by bursting of the aberrant microspores at a time corresponding to microspore release. These results demonstrate that premature callose degradation is sufficient to cause male sterility and suggest that callose is essential for the formation of a normal microspore cell wall.