A cytoplasmic male sterility-associated mitochondrial protein causes pollen disruption in transgenic tobacco

Shichuan He, Andre R. Abad, Stanton B. Gelvin, Sally A. Mackenzie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

66 Scopus citations


In higher plants, dominant mitochondrial mutations are associated with pollen sterility. This phenomenon is known as cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS). It is thought that the disruption in pollen development is a consequence of mitochondrial dysfunction. To provide definitive evidence that expression of an abnormal mitochondrial gene can interrupt pollen development, a CMS-associated mitochondrial DNA sequence from common bean, orf239, was introduced into the tobacco nuclear genome. Several transformants containing the orf239 gene constructs, with or without a mitochondrial targeting sequence, exhibited a semisterile or male-sterile phenotype. Expression of the gene fusions in transformed anthers was confirmed using RNA gel blotting, ELISA, and light and electron microscopic immunocytochemistry. Immunocytological analysis showed that the ORF239 protein could associate with the cell wall of aberrant developing microspores. This pattern of extracellular localization was earlier observed in the CMS common bean line containing orf239 in the mitochondrial genome. Results presented here demonstrate that ORF239 causes pollen disruption in transgenic tobacco plants and may do so without targeting of the protein to the mitochondrion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11763-11768
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number21
StatePublished - Oct 15 1996



  • callose deposition
  • common bean

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this