In flowering plants, sink tissues rely on transport of carbohydrates from photosynthetic tissues (sources) for nutrition and energy. However, how sugar partitioning in plants is regulated at the molecular level during development remains unknown. We have isolated and characterized a rice (Oryza sativa) mutant, carbon starved anther (csa), that showed increased sugar contents in leaves and stems and reduced levels of sugars and starch in floral organs. In particular, the csa mutant had reduced levels of carbohydrates in later anthers and was male sterile. The csa mutant had reduced accumulation of 14C-labeled sugars in anther sink tissue. CSA was isolated by map-based cloning and was shown to encode an R2R3 MYB transcription factor that was expressed preferentially in the anther tapetal cells and in the sugar-transporting vascular tissues. In addition, the expression of MST8, encoding a monosaccharide transporter, was greatly reduced in csa anthers. Furthermore, CSA was found to be associated in vivo and in vitro with the promoter of MST8. Our findings suggest that CSA is a key transcriptional regulator for sugar partitioning in rice during male reproductive development. This study also establishes a molecular model system for further elucidation of the genetic control of carbon partitioning in plants.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science
- Cell Biology