Identification of the first nuclear male sterility gene (Male-sterile 9) in sorghum

Junping Chen, Yinping Jiao, Haydee Laza, Paxton Payton, Doreen Ware, Zhanguo Xin

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3 Scopus citations


Nuclear male sterility (NMS) is important for understanding microspore development and could facilitate the development of new strategies to control male sterility. Several NMS lines and mutants have been reported in sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] previously. However, no male-sterile gene has been identified, hampering the utility of NMS in sorghum breeding. In this study, we characterized a new NMS mutant, male sterile 9 (ms9), which is distinct from all other reported NMS loci. The ms9 mutant is stable under a variety of environmental conditions. Homozygous ms9 plants produced normal ovaries but small pale-colored anthers that contained no pollen grains. Microscopic analyses revealed abnormal microspore development of ms9 at the midmicrospore stage, causing degeneration of microspore inside the anther lobes and male sterility of ms9 plants. Using MutMap, we identified the Ms9 gene as a plant homeotic domain (PHD)-finger transcription factor similar to Ms1 in Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. and Ptc1 in rice (Oryza sativa L.). Ms9 is the first NMS gene identified in sorghum. Thus, the Ms9 gene and ms9 mutant provide new genetic tools for studying pollen development and controlling male sterility in sorghum.

Original languageEnglish
Article number190020
JournalPlant Genome
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2019


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