Genes associated with thermosensitive genic male sterility in rice identified by comparative expression profiling

Yufang Pan, Qiaofeng Li, Zhizheng Wang, Yang Wang, Rui Ma, Lili Zhu, Guangcun He, Rongzhi Chen
BMC Genomics 2014, 15: 1114

BACKGROUND: Thermosensitive genic male sterile (TGMS) lines and photoperiod-sensitive genic male sterile (PGMS) lines have been successfully used in hybridization to improve rice yields. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying male sterility transitions in most PGMS/TGMS rice lines are unclear. In the recently developed TGMS-Co27 line, the male sterility is based on co-suppression of a UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase gene (Ugp1), but further study is needed to fully elucidate the molecular mechanisms involved.

RESULTS: Microarray-based transcriptome profiling of TGMS-Co27 and wild-type Hejiang 19 (H1493) plants grown at high and low temperatures revealed that 15462 probe sets representing 8303 genes were differentially expressed in the two lines, under the two conditions, or both. Environmental factors strongly affected global gene expression. Some genes important for pollen development were strongly repressed in TGMS-Co27 at high temperature. More significantly, series-cluster analysis of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between TGMS-Co27 plants grown under the two conditions showed that low temperature induced the expression of a gene cluster. This cluster was found to be essential for sterility transition. It includes many meiosis stage-related genes that are probably important for thermosensitive male sterility in TGMS-Co27, inter alia: Arg/Ser-rich domain (RS)-containing zinc finger proteins, polypyrimidine tract-binding proteins (PTBs), DEAD/DEAH box RNA helicases, ZOS (C2H2 zinc finger proteins of Oryza sativa), at least one polyadenylate-binding protein and some other RNA recognition motif (RRM) domain-containing proteins involved in post-transcriptional processes, eukaryotic initiation factor 5B (eIF5B), ribosomal proteins (L37, L1p/L10e, L27 and L24), aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (ARSs), eukaryotic elongation factor Tu (eEF-Tu) and a peptide chain release factor protein involved in translation. The differential expression of 12 DEGs that are important for pollen development, low temperature responses or TGMS was validated by quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR).

CONCLUSIONS: Temperature strongly affects global gene expression and may be the common regulator of fertility in PGMS/TGMS rice lines. The identified expression changes reflect perturbations in the transcriptomic regulation of pollen development networks in TGMS-Co27. Findings from this and previous studies indicate that sets of genes involved in post-transcriptional and translation processes are involved in thermosensitive male sterility transitions in TGMS-Co27.


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