Anther-specific expression of mutated melon ethylene receptor gene Cm-ERS1/H70A affected tapetum degeneration and pollen grain production in transgenic tobacco plants. Plant Cell Rep
To develop a new system for inducible male sterility without any modification of the floral architecture in tobacco plants, a mutated ethylene receptor gene Cm-ERS1/H70A was fused either to the tobacco Nin88 promoter known to function mainly in the tapetum and microspore or to the CaMV 35S promoter known to be a constitutive promoter. The fusion genes pNin88::Cm-ERS1/H70A and p35S::Cm-ERS1/H70A were introduced in tobacco plants, which generated two independent transformants. Transformants with 35S::Cm-ERS1/H70A produced less normal pollen and had modified floral architecture while those with Nin88::Cm-ERS1/H70A produced less normal pollen without modification of floral architecture. Histological observations of anthers at stage 2 showed that tapetum degeneration in NH70A #8 and H70A #2 transformants occurred later than in wild types, strongly indicating that the expression of the mutated gene was involved in this delay. These results suggest that the tapetum-specific expression of a mutated ethylene receptor gene is a potential strategy for inducing male sterility in transgenic plants.