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Variant mitochondrial protein and DNA patterns associated with cytoplasmic male-sterile lines of Nicotiana

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Variation in mitochondrial protein synthesis and genome organization was investigated. Three different alloplasmic cytoplasmic male-sterile Nicotiana tabacum cultivars, carrying N. repanda, N. suaveolens or N. debneyi cytoplasm, were analysed together with corresponding male-fertile parental and restored material. Although several differences were detected in the proteins synthesized by isolated mitochondria from the male-sterile and male-fertile plants, most of these were related to the origin of the mitochondria. However, a 23 kD protein was synthesized in the male-sterile cultivar carrying N. debneyi mitochondria, but not in other lines containing this cytoplasm. This protein was also present in the male-fertile parent containing N. tabacum mitochondria. Only the enhanced production of a 30 kD protein in the lines carrying mitochondria from N. repanda or N. debneyi was exclusively correlated with CMS. This protein was not present in any of the corresponding male-fertile parental and restored lines. Restriction enzyme analysis of mitochondrial DNA revealed a difference in abundance of a 5.6 kb XhoI fragment between lines containing N. debneyi mitochondria. No rearrangements of mitochondrial DNA was found between male-fertile and male-sterile lines carrying N. repanda or N. suaveolens cytoplasm. These results might indicate that CMS in alloplasmic Nicotiana cultivars is caused by alterations in the expression of mitochondrial genes, rather than by induced changes in the genome.

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Communicated by I. Potrykus

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Håkansson, G., van der Mark, F., Bonnett, H.T. et al. Variant mitochondrial protein and DNA patterns associated with cytoplasmic male-sterile lines of Nicotiana . Theoret. Appl. Genetics 76, 431–437 (1988).

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Key words

  • Cytoplasmic male sterility
  • Mitochondria
  • Translation products
  • DNA
  • Nicotiana