• doubled haploid plants;
  • glutamine synthetase;
  • male sterility;
  • microspore;
  • tapetum;
  • tobacco


Reversible male sterility and doubled haploid plant production are two valuable technologies in F1-hybrid breeding. F1-hybrids combine uniformity with high yield and improved agronomic traits, and provide self-acting intellectual property protection. We have developed an F1-hybrid seed technology based on the metabolic engineering of glutamine in developing tobacco anthers and pollen. Cytosolic glutamine synthetase (GS1) was inactivated in tobacco by introducing mutated tobacco GS genes fused to the tapetum-specific TA29 and microspore-specific NTM19 promoters. Pollen in primary transformants aborted close to the first pollen mitosis, resulting in male sterility. A non-segregating population of homozygous doubled haploid male-sterile plants was generated through microspore embryogenesis. Fertility restoration was achieved by spraying plants with glutamine, or by pollination with pollen matured in vitro in glutamine-containing medium. The combination of reversible male sterility with doubled haploid production results in an innovative environmentally friendly breeding technology. Tapetum-mediated sporophytic male sterility is of use in foliage crops, whereas microspore-specific gametophytic male sterility can be applied to any field crop. Both types of sterility preclude the release of transgenic pollen into the environment.