Polyamines play very important role in various cellular metabolic functions, including floral induction, floral differentiation and fertility regulation. In the present study, S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase (SAMDC), a key gene involved in polyamine biosynthesis, has been targeted in tapetal tissue of tomato using RNAi to examine its effect on tapetum development and pollen viability. The target SAMDC gene fragments of three homologues were cloned in a hairpin RNA construct under the control of tapetal-specific A9 promoter, which was used to generate several RNAi tomato plants. These RNAi lines expressed the intended small interfering RNAs in the anther and showed the aborted and sterile pollen exhibiting shrunken and distorted morphology. These RNAi tomato plants having sterile pollen, failed to set fruits but female fertility of the plants remained unaffected as cross pollination resulted in fruit setting. Expression profiling of SAMDC genes showed considerable decrease in transcripts of SAMDC1 (5–8 fold) and SAMDC2 and SAMDC3 (2–3 fold) in the anthers of RNAi plants. The other polyamine biosynthesis genes, ADC and SPDSYN exhibited ~1.5 fold decrease in their transcript levels. Presence of siRNA molecules specific to SAMDC homologues in anther and tapetal-specific activity of A9 promoter as shown with GUS reporter system of RNAi plants suggested down-regulation of the target genes in tapetum by RNAi. These observations indicate the importance of SAMDC, in turn polyamines in pollen development, and thus tapetum-specific down-regulation of SAMDC genes using RNAi can be used for developing male sterile plants.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 31, 2013
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