Map-based cloning of a novel rice cytochrome P450 gene CYP81A6 that confers resistance to two different classes of herbicides

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Development of hybrid rice has greatly contributed to increased yields during the past three decades. Two bentazon-lethal mutants 8077S and Norin8m are being utilized in developing new hybrid rice systems. When the male sterile lines are developed in such a mutant background, the problem of F1 seed contamination by self-seeds from the sterile lines can be solved by spraying bentazon at seedling stage. We first determined the sensitivity of the mutant plants to bentazon. Both mutants showed symptoms to bentazon starting from 100 mg/l, which was about 60-fold, lower than the sensitivity threshold of their wild-type controls. In addition, both mutants were sensitive to sulfonylurea-type herbicides. The locus for the mutant phenotype is bel for 8077S and bsl for Norin8m. Tests showed that the two loci are allelic to each other. The two genes were cloned by map-based cloning. Interestingly, both mutant alleles had a single-base deletion, which was confirmed by PCR-RFLP. The two loci are renamed bela (for bel) and belb (for bsl). The wild-type Bel gene encodes a novel cytochrome P450 monooxgenase, named CYP81A6. Analysis of the mutant protein sequence also revealed the reason for bela being slightly tolerant than belb. Introduction of the wild-type Bel gene rescued the bentazon- and sulfonylurea-sensitive phenotype of bela mutant. On the other hand, expression of antisense Bel in W6154S induced a mutant phenotype. Based on these results we conclude that the novel cytochrome P450 monooxygenase CYP81A6 encoded by Bel confers resistance to two different classes of herbicides.

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