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Nat Commun. 2013;4:1445. doi: 10.1038/ncomms2396.

EAT1 promotes tapetal cell death by regulating aspartic proteases during male reproductive development in rice.

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State Key Laboratory of Hybrid Rice, School of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China.


Programmed cell death is essential for the development of multicellular organisms, yet pathways of plant programmed cell death and its regulation remain elusive. Here we report that ETERNAL TAPETUM 1, a basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor conserved in land plants, positively regulates programmed cell death in tapetal cells in rice anthers. eat1 exhibits delayed tapetal cell death and aborted pollen formation. ETERNAL TAPETUM 1 directly regulates the expression of OsAP25 and OsAP37, which encode aspartic proteases that induce programmed cell death in both yeast and plants. Expression and genetic analyses revealed that ETERNAL TAPETUM 1 acts downstream of TAPETUM DEGENERATION RETARDATION, another positive regulator of tapetal programmed cell death, and that ETERNAL TAPETUM 1 can also interact with the TAPETUM DEGENERATION RETARDATION protein. This study demonstrates that ETERNAL TAPETUM 1 promotes aspartic proteases triggering plant programmed cell death, and reveals a dynamic regulatory cascade in male reproductive development in rice.

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