Tapetum-specific expression of the gene for an endo-β-1,3-glucanase causes male sterility in transgenic tobacco

Tohru Tsuchiya, Kinya Toriyama, Masaaki Yoshikawa, Shin Ichiro Ejiri, Kokichi Hinata

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80 Citations (Scopus)


A cDNA for a pathogenesis-related endo-β-1,3-glucanase isolated from soybean, was fused to an anther tapetum-specific promoter (Osg6B promoter) isolated from rice and the resulting chimeric gene was introduced into tobacco. The Osg6B promoter became active in the anther tapetum during formation of tetrads and the tapetal glucanase activity in the transgenic plants caused in a significant reduction in the number of fertile pollen grains. Most of the pollen grains were aberrant in shape, lacked germinal apertures and aggregate of the pollen grains. Granules of β-1,3-glucan, which have not previously been reported, were often observed to adhere to the surface of the pollen grains. Further observations revealed that the callose wall was almost absent in the pollen tetrads of transgenic plants. In wild-type plants, by contrast, the tetrads were surrounded by callose that was degraded soon after the tetrad stage to release free microspores. Thus, the introduced gene for endo-β-1,3-endoglucanase under the control of the Osg6B promoter caused digestion of the callose wall at the beginning of the tetrad stage, a time that was just a little earlier than the time at which endogenous glucanase activity normal appears. These results demonstrate that premature dissolution of the callose wall in pollen tetrads causes male sterility and suggest that the time at which tapetally produced glucanase is activate is critical for the normal development of microspores.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487-494
Number of pages8
JournalPlant and Cell Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1995 Apr


  • Endo-β-1,3-glucanase
  • Male sterility
  • Tapetum-specific promoter
  • Tetrad callose wall
  • Transgenic tobacco


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