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Planta. 2002 Jul;215(3):371-9. Epub 2002 Apr 4.

The "drought-inducible" histone H1s of tobacco play no role in male sterility linked to alterations in H1 variants.

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Laboratory of Plant Molecular Biology, Warsaw University, Poland.


Tobacco ( Nicotiana tabacum L.) has two major H1 variants (H1A and H1B), which account for over 80% of chromatin linker histones, and four minor variants: H1C, H1D, H1E and H1F. We have shown previously [M. Prymakowska-Bosak et al. (1999) Plant Cell 11:2317-2329] that reversal of the natural proportion of major to minor H1 variants in transgenic tobacco plants results in a characteristic male-sterility phenotype identical to that occurring in many plant species subjected to water deficit at the time of male meiosis. It has been proposed by others that the drought-induced arrest of male gametophyte development is linked to decreased sugar delivery to reproductive tissues. Within the family of angiosperm H1s there is a well-defined class of minor H1 variants named "drought inducible" because some of its members have been shown to be induced by water deficit. We have identified and cloned the tobacco H1C gene, which, based on sequence similarity, represents a "drought-inducible" minor H1 variant. Analysis of the un-translated mRNA and promoter regions of H1C suggests a regulation by sucrose concentration. Antisense silencing of H1C and its close homologue H1D in plants that do not express H1A and H1B does not affect the characteristic H1A(-)/ H1B(-) male-sterility phenotype. Silencing of H1C and H1D also has no effect on growth and development of plants. Our findings demonstrate that H1C and H1D are dispensable for normal growth and development of tobacco, and that the compensatory up-regulation of "drought-inducible" H1s observed in H1A(-)/ H1B(-) plants is not the direct cause of male sterility linked to alterations in H1 variants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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