A Gene Encoding Pentatricopeptide Repeat Protein Partially Restores Fertility in RT98-Type Cytoplasmic Male-Sterile Rice

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Cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) lines in rice, which have the cytoplasm of a wild species and the nuclear genome of cultivated rice, are of value for the study of genetic interactions between the mitochondrial and nuclear genomes. The RT98-type CMS line RT98A and the fertility restorer line RT98C carry the cytoplasm of the wild species Oryza rufipogon and the nuclear genome of the Taichung 65 cultivar (Oryza sativa L.). Based on a classical crossing experiment, fertility is reported to be restored gametophytically by the presence of a tentative single gene, designated Rf98, which is derived from the cytoplasm donor. Fine mapping of Rf98 revealed that at least two genes, which are closely positioned, are required for complete fertility restoration in RT98A. Here, we identified seven pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) genes that are located within a 170 kb region as candidates for Rf98. Complementation tests revealed that the introduction of one of these PPR genes, PPR762, resulted in the partial recovery of fertility with a seed setting rate up to 9.3%. We conclude that PPR762 is an essential fertility restorer gene for RT98-type CMS. The low rate of seed setting suggested that some other genes near the Rf98 locus are also necessary for the full recovery of seed setting.

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