In flowering plants, tapetum degeneration is proposed to be triggered by a programmed cell death (PCD) process during late stages of pollen development; the PCD is thought to provide cellular contents supporting pollen wall formation and to allow the subsequent pollen release. However, the molecular basis regulating tapetum PCD in plants remains poorly understood. We report the isolation and characterization of a rice (Oryza sativa) male sterile mutant tapetum degeneration retardation (tdr), which exhibits degeneration retardation of the tapetum and middle layer as well as collapse of microspores. The TDR gene is preferentially expressed in the tapetum and encodes a putative basic helix-loop-helix protein, which is likely localized to the nucleus. More importantly, two genes, Os CP1 and Os c6, encoding a Cys protease and a protease inhibitor, respectively, were shown to be the likely direct targets of TDR through chromatin immunoprecipitation analyses and the electrophoretic mobility shift assay. These results indicate that TDR is a key component of the molecular network regulating rice tapetum development and degeneration.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science
- Cell Biology