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Plant J. 2011 Mar;65(5):798-806. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2010.04466.x. Epub 2011 Jan 19.

Rice interspecies hybrids show precocious or delayed developmental transitions in the endosperm without change to the rate of syncytial nuclear division.

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Plant Reproductive Genetics, GCOE Research Group, Graduate School of Biological Science, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Nara 630-0192, Japan.


In angiosperms, interspecific crosses often display hybrid incompatibilities that are manifested as under-proliferation or over-proliferation of endosperm. Recent analyses using crosses between Arabidopsis thaliana and its related species with different ploidy levels have shown that interspecific hybridization causes delayed developmental transition and increased mitotic activity in the endosperm. In this study, we investigated endosperm development in interspecific crosses between diploid Oryza species. In a cross between female O. sativa and male O. punctata, we found that the hybrid endosperm was reduced in size and this cross was associated with precocious developmental transition. By contrast, the cross between O. sativa and O. longistaminata generated enlarged hybrid endosperm at the mid-point of seed development and this cross was associated with delayed developmental transition. Subsequently, the hybrid endosperm displayed a shriveled appearance at the seed maturation stage. We found that the accumulation of storage products and the expression patterns of several marker genes were also altered in the hybrid endosperm. By contrast, the rate of syncytial mitotic nuclear divisions was not significantly affected. The gene OsMADS87 showed a maternal origin-specific expression pattern in rice endosperm, in contrast to its Arabidopsis homologue PHERES1, which shows paternal origin-specific expression. OsMADS87 expression was decreased or increased depending on the type of developmental transition change in the hybrid rice endosperm. Our results indicate that one of the interspecies hybridization barriers in Oryza endosperm is mediated by precocious or delayed developmental alterations and de-regulation of OsMADS87, without change to the rate of syncytial mitotic nuclear division in the hybrid endosperm.

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