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PLoS Genet. 2017 Jul 14;13(7):e1006906. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1006906. eCollection 2017 Jul.

OsCNGC13 promotes seed-setting rate by facilitating pollen tube growth in stylar tissues.

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State Key Laboratory for Crop Genetics and Germplasm Enhancement, Jiangsu Plant Gene Engineering Research Center, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, China.
National Key Facility for Crop Gene Resources and Genetic Improvement, Institute of Crop Science, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing, China.
Institute of Food Crops, Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Nanjing, China.
State Key Laboratory of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, College of Biological Sciences, National Plant Gene Research Centre (Beijing), China Agricultural University, Beijing, China.


Seed-setting rate is a critical determinant of grain yield in rice (Oryza sativa L.). Rapid and healthy pollen tube growth in the style is required for high seed-setting rate. The molecular mechanisms governing this process remain largely unknown. In this study, we isolate a dominant low seed-setting rate rice mutant, sss1-D. Cellular examination results show that pollen tube growth is blocked in about half of the mutant styles. Molecular cloning and functional assays reveals that SSS1-D encodes OsCNGC13, a member of the cyclic nucleotide-gated channel family. OsCNGC13 is preferentially expressed in the pistils and its expression is dramatically reduced in the heterozygous plant, suggesting a haploinsufficiency nature for the dominant mutant phenotype. We show that OsCNGC13 is permeable to Ca2+. Consistent with this, accumulation of cytoplasmic calcium concentration ([Ca2+]cyt) is defective in the sss1-D mutant style after pollination. Further, the sss1-D mutant has altered extracellular matrix (ECM) components and delayed cell death in the style transmission tract (STT). Based on these results, we propose that OsCNGC13 acts as a novel maternal sporophytic factor required for stylar [Ca2+]cyt accumulation, ECM components modification and STT cell death, thus facilitating the penetration of pollen tube in the style for successful double fertilization and seed-setting in rice.

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