Cytoplasmic male sterility, Biology tutorial


The Cytoplasmic male sterility is a total or partial male sterility related by plant biology as the outcome of specific nuclear and mitochondrial interactions. Male sterility is the failure of plants to generate functional pollen, anthers and male gametes. The initial documentation of male sterility came in Joseph Gottlieb Kolreuter noticed anther abortion in species and specific hybrids. Cytoplasmic male sterility has now been recognized in over 150 plant species. It is more common than female sterility, either because the male sporophyte and gametophyte are less protected from the environment than the ovule and embryo sac, or as it outcomes from natural selection on mitochondrial genes that are maternally inherited and are therefore not concerned by pollen production. Male sterility is simple to detect as a large number of pollen grains are generated and are simply studied. Male sterility is assayed via staining methods (like carmine, lacto phenol or iodine); whereas detection of female sterility is detectable through the absence of seeds. Male sterility consists of propagation potential in nature as it can still set seed and is significant for crop breeding, whereas female sterility doesn't. Male sterility can be aroused spontaneously through mutations in nuclear and/or cytoplasmic genes. The male sterility can be either cytoplasmic or cytoplasmic-genetic. Cytoplasmic male sterility (or CMS) is caused by the extra-nuclear genome (that is, mitochondria or chloroplast) and exhibits maternal inheritance. Manifestation of male sterility in CMS might be either totally controlled by cytoplasmic factors or by the interaction among cytoplasmic and nuclear factors.

Cytoplasmic male sterility, as the name points out, is beneath extra-nuclear genetic control (that is, under the control of mitochondrial or plastid genomes). They exhibit non-Mendelian inheritance and are beneath the regulation of cytoplasmic factors. In this kind, male sterility is inherited maternally. In general there are two kinds of cytoplasm: N (normal) and the aberrant S (sterile) cytoplasm. These kinds show or represent reciprocal differences.

Cytoplasmic-genetic male sterility:

As CMS is controlled by an extra-nuclear genome frequently times nuclear genes can encompass the capability to restore fertility. If nuclear restorations of fertility genes ('Rf') are available for CMS system in any crop, it is cytoplasmic-genetic male sterility; the sterility is manifested through the influence of both nuclear (that is, Mendelian inheritance) and cytoplasmic (that is, maternally inherited) genes. There are as well restorers of fertility (Rf) genes, which are dissimilar from genetic male sterility genes. The Rf genes don't contain any expression of their own unless the sterile cytoplasm is present. Rf genes are needed to restore the fertility in S cytoplasm that causes sterility. Therefore N cytoplasm is for all time fertile and S cytoplasm having genotype Rf- generates fertile; whereas S cytoplasm having rfrf produces only male sterile. The other feature of such systems is that Rf mutations (that is, mutations to rf or no fertility restoration) are common, therefore N cytoplasm having Rfrf is best for the stable fertility.

Cytoplasmic-genetic male sterility systems are broadly exploited in crop plants for hybrid breeding due to the ease to control the sterility expression through manipulating the gene-cytoplasm combinations in any chosen genotype. Incorporation of such systems for male sterility evades the requirement for emasculation in the cross-pollinated species, therefore encouraging cross breeding producing just hybrid seeds beneath natural conditions.

Cytoplasmic male sterility in hybrid breeding:

Hybrid production needs a female plant in which no viable male gametes are borne. Emasculation is completed to make a plant devoid of pollen so that it is made female. The other simple manner to establish a female line for the hybrid seed production is to recognize or make a line which is not able to produce the viable pollen. This male sterile line is thus not able to self-pollinate and seed formation is based on pollen from the male line.

Cytoplasmic male sterility is employed in hybrid seed production. In this condition, the sterility is transmitted just via the female and all progeny will be sterile. This is not a problem for crops like onions or carrots where the commodity harvested from F1 generation is produced throughout vegetative growth. Such CMS lines should be maintained through repeated crossing to a sister line (termed as the maintainer line) which is genetically similar apart from that it possesses normal cytoplasm and is thus male fertile. In cytoplasmic-genetic male sterility restoration of fertility is done by employing restorer lines carrying nuclear restorer genes in the crops. The male sterile line is sustained by crossing by a maintainer line which consists of the similar genome as that of the MS line however carrying normal fertile cytoplasm.

Cytoplasmic male sterility in the hybrid maize breeding:

Cytoplasmic male sterility is a significant portion of hybrid maize production. The first commercial cytoplasmic male sterile, discovered in the Texas, is termed as CMS-T. The utilization of CMS-T, beginning in the year 1950, eradicated the requirement for detasseling. In the early 1970's plants having CMS-T genetics were susceptible to southern corn leaf blight and suffered from prevalent loss of yield. Since then CMS types C and S are employed rather. Unluckily these kinds are prone to environmentally induced fertility restoration and should be cautiously monitored in the field. Environmentally induced restoration is when certain environmental stimuli signal the plant to bypass the sterility restrictions and generate pollen anyway. Environmentally induced restoration distinct from genetic restoration in that it is rooted in external signals instead of genetic DNA. The systematic sequencing of new plant species in latest years has uncovered the existence of some novel RF genes and their encoded proteins. A unified nomenclature for the RF extended protein families across all the plant species, basic in the context of comparative functional genomics. This unified nomenclature accommodates functional RF genes and pseudogenes and gives the flexibility required to incorporate the additional RFs as they become accessible in future.

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