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Keywords:

  • MYB transcription factor;
  • male sterility;
  • dehiscence;
  • ms35;
  • Arabidopsis thaliana;
  • anther development

Summary

A male sterile mutant with a defect in anther dehiscence was identified in an Arabidopsis thaliana population mutagenized with the Zea mays transposon En-1/Spm. Mutants produce viable pollen that can fertilize when released mechanically from the anthers. Mutant stamens are of normal size and shape, but lack cell wall fortifications in the endothecial cell layer of the anther, which are required for the dehiscence process. The mutant phenotype was shown to be caused by a transposon insertion in AtMYB26, disrupting the putative DNA-binding domain of this R2R3-type MYB transcription factor. RT-PCR revealed that expression of AtMYB26 is restricted to inflorescences. Sterility was shown to be stable under several environmental conditions. The high stability of the sterile phenotype, together with the fact that pollen is functional, makes AtMYB26 and its orthologs a valuable tool for manipulating male fertility in higher plants.