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Plant J. 1996 Jul;10(1):123-33.

Transcript processing internal to a mitochondrial open reading frame is correlated with fertility restoration in male-sterile sorghum.

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Department of Plant Pathology, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611, USA.


A chimeric mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) configuration of the cytoplasmic male-sterile (cms) sorghum line IS1112C includes a 321 bp open reading frame designated orf107, encoding a predicted polypeptide product of 11.85 kDa. The open reading frame, similar to several other genes associated with cms, consists of amino-terminal sequences derived from an obligate gene. Unlike other examples to date, however, the carboxy-terminal sequences are highly similar to the carboxy terminus of an open reading frame implicated in cms of rice, orf79. The amino-terminal 31 residues of orf107 are 84% similar to atp9, and the carboxy-terminal 49 residues are 57% identical and 80% similar to the carboxy terminus of orf79. Transcripts of orf107 are edited, with four C-to-U changes that alter amino acids. Sorghum lines partially or fully restored to fertility exhibit a high-efficiency internal-orf107 transcript processing activity, precluding abundant whole-length transcripts, while male-sterile lines exhibit only a trace of the activity. Previous data on the abundance of a 12kDa in organello-synthesized polypeptide in male-sterile versus male-fertile lines are correlated with differential orf107 transcript processing activity of these lines. Examinations of backcross and F2 lines suggest a gametophytic mode of restoration, and indicate that enhanced transcript processing activity is necessary, but not sufficient, to restore full fertility. These novel observations indicate that mitochondrial open reading frames associated with cms in different species can include highly similar motifs, and that fertility restoration could involve a mechanism by which synthesis of a cms-associated gene product may be precluded through internal transcript cleavage.

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