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Mitochondrion. 2014 Nov;19 Pt B:166-71. doi: 10.1016/j.mito.2014.04.009. Epub 2014 Apr 24.

Cytoplasmic male sterility and mitochondrial metabolism in plants.

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Laboratoire Génétique et Evolution des Populations Végétales, CNRS UMR 8198, Université Lille 1, F-59655 Villeneuve d'Ascq cedex, France.
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Am Mühlenberg 1, D-14476 Potsdam-Golm, Germany. Electronic address:


Cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) is a common feature encountered in plant species. It is the result of a genomic conflict between the mitochondrial and the nuclear genomes. CMS is caused by mitochondrial encoded factors which can be counteracted by nuclear encoded factors restoring male fertility. Despite extensive work, the molecular mechanism of male sterility still remains unknown. Several studies have suggested the involvement of respiration on the disruption of pollen production through an energy deficiency. By comparing recent works on CMS and respiratory mutants, we suggest that the "ATP hypothesis" might not be as obvious as previously suggested.


Cytoplasmic male sterility; Fertility restoration; OXPHOS system; Respiratory mutants

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