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Plant J. 2002 Jan;29(2):169-81.

Pistillody, homeotic transformation of stamens into pistil-like structures, caused by nuclear-cytoplasm interaction in wheat.

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Department of Bioscience, Fukui Prefectural University, Matsuoka-cho, Fukui 910-1195, Japan.


Homeotic transformation of stamens into pistil-like structures (pistillody) has been observed in a cytoplasmic substitution (alloplasmic) line of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cv. Norin 26, which has the cytoplasm of a wild relative species, Aegilops crassa L. On the other hand, an alloplasmic line of wheat cv. Chinese Spring (CS) with Ae. crassa cytoplasm has normal flowers. This is due to the presence in the CS nucleus of a fertility-restoring gene, Rfd1. Deletion mapping analysis revealed that Rfd1 is located on the middle part of the long arm of chromosome 7B. To investigate the function of the Rfd1 gene by a loss-of-function strategy, we produced alloplasmic lines of CS ditelosomic 7BS [(cr)-CSdt7BS] and CS monotelodisomic 7BS [(cr)-CSmd7BS] with the Ae. crassa cytoplasm, and characterized their phenotypes. The line (cr)-CSdt7BS without Rfd1 exhibited pistillody in all florets, and also female sterility. Scanning electron microscopy of the young spikes revealed that the pistillody was induced at an early stage of stamen development. The pistillate stamens often developed incomplete ovule-like structures with integuments instead of tapetum and pollen grains. It is possible that MADS box genes are associated with the induction of pistillody, because the expression of wheat APETALA3 homologue (WAP3) was reduced in the young spikes of (cr)-CSdt7BS. In addition, a histological study indicated that the female sterility in (cr)-CSdt7BS is due to the abnormality of the ovule, which fails to form an inner epidermis and integuments in the chalaza region. The line (cr)-CSmd7BS, hemizygous for Rfd1, showed partial pistillody (51%) and restored female fertility up to 72%. These results suggest that the induction of both pistillody and ovule deficiency caused by the Ae. crassa cytoplasm is inhibited by the Rfd1 gene in a dose-dependent manner.

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