Journal Article A fertility-restoring genotype of beet (Beta vulgaris L.) is composed of a weak restorer-of-fertility gene and a modifier gene tightly linked to the Rf1 locus

Arakawa, Takumi  ,  Uchiyama, Daisuke  ,  Ohgami, Takashi  ,  Ohgami, Ryo  ,  Murata, Tomoki  ,  Honma, Yujiro  ,  Hamada, Hiroyuki  ,  Kuroda, Yosuke  ,  Taguchi, Kazunori  ,  Kitazaki, Kazuyoshi  ,  Kubo, Tomohiko

13 ( 6 )  , p.e0198409 , 2018-06-01 , The Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Abstract: Cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) is a plant trait that involves interactions between nuclear- and mitochondrial genomes. In CMS, the nuclear restorer-of-fertility gene (Rf), a suppressor of male-sterility inducing mitochondria, is one of the best known genetic factors. Other unidentified genetic factors may exist but have not been well characterized. In sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.), CMS is used for hybrid seed production, but few male-sterility inducing nuclear genotypes exist. Such genotypes could be introduced from a closely related plant such as leaf beet, but first the fertility restoring genotype of the related plant must be characterized. Here, we report the discovery of a Japanese leaf beet accession ‘Fukkoku-ouba’ that has both male-sterility inducing and fertility restoring genotypes. We crossed the leaf beet accession with a sugar beet CMS line, developed succeeding generations, and examined the segregation of two DNA markers that are linked to two sugar beet Rfs, Rf1 and Rf2. Only the Rf2 marker co-segregated with fertility restoration in every generation, implying that the Rf1 locus in leaf beet is occupied by a non-restoring allele. Fertility restoration was incomplete without a genetic factor closely linked to Rf1, leading to the assumption that the Rf1 locus encodes a modifier that cannot restore fertility by itself but perhaps strengthens another Rf. We sequenced the apparently non-restoring ‘Fukkoku-ouba’ rf1 gene-coding region and found that it closely resembles a restoring allele. The protein product demonstrated its potential to suppress CMS in transgenic suspension cells. In contrast, ‘Fukkoku-ouba’ rf1 transcript abundance was highly reduced compared to that of the restoring Rf1. Consistently, changes in protein complexes containing CMS-associated mitochondrial protein in anthers were very minor. Accordingly, we concluded that ‘Fukkoku-ouba’ rf1 is a hypomorph that acts as a non-restoring allele but has the potential to support another Rf, i.e. it is a modifier candidate.

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