Molecular Breeding

, 39:22 | Cite as

Unique fertility restoration suppressor genes for male-sterile CMS ANN2 and CMS ANN3 cytoplasms in sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.)

  • Zhao Liu
  • Yunming Long
  • Steven S. Xu
  • Gerald J. SeilerEmail author
  • Chao-Chien Jan


Single dominant fertility restoration (Rf) genes for cytoplasmic male-sterile (CMS) sunflower lines CMS ANN2 and CMS ANN3 were previously identified in three and five sources, respectively. However, expressions of the dominant Rf genes were suppressed when crossing restoration lines with three inbred lines. Preliminary results indicated that segregation of fertility in most testcross progeny families from crosses of half-diallel F1’s of restoration lines with the two CMS lines, respectively, did not agree with those of the F2 generation of the half-diallel crosses. In this study, using selected CMS ANN2 and CMS ANN3 plants without the silencing suppressor (S) genes, we confirmed the existence of S genes in the nuclear genomes of the CMS lines used for crossing of the two CMS cytoplasms. Inheritance study suggested that Rf gene suppression was controlled by a single dominant gene in specific backgrounds, whereas two to three complementary S genes could exist in certain backgrounds. Using testcross population Rf ANN2-P21/RHA 274//Rf ANN2-P21, a single S gene from RHA 274, designated S1, was mapped to a recombination suppressed region on the sunflower linkage group (LG) 3, co-segregating with 16 SSR or single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers, flanked by NSA_003339 and ORS124 at a distance of 1.4 and 0.7 cM, respectively. These molecular markers will potentially assist in identifying lines without suppressor genes, including CMS lines.

Key message

Unique suppression of Rf genes confirmed existence of suppressor (S1) gene in CMS lines that mapped to a recombination suppressed region on linkage group 3, which will enhance understanding of cytoplasm-nuclear interactions.


Sunflower Helianthus annuus Cytoplasmic male sterility Fertility restoration Gene suppression 



The authors are very grateful to Lisa Brown for technical assistance in this study. We thank Ms. Puying Zheng and Drs. Hongxia Wang and Wei Zhou for their help in the fertility evaluation and molecular marker screening. We appreciate Drs. Lili Qi and Zahirul Talukder for their valuable discussions during the study. We also thank Drs. Larry G. Campbell and Lili Qi for critical review of the manuscript.

Author contribution

Conceived and designed the experiments: CCJ, ZL. Performed the experiments: ZL, CCJ, YL, SSX. Analyzed the data; ZL, CCJ, YL, SSX. Wrote the paper: ZL, CCJ, GJS, YL. Commented on the manuscript before submission: ZL, CCJ, YL, SSX, GJS.


The project was supported by the USDA-ARS National Sclerotinia Initiative, grant number 3060-21220-028-00D, and the USDA-ARS CRIS Project No. 3060-21000-039-00D. Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is solely for the purpose of providing specific information and does not imply recommendation or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical statement

The experiments were performed in compliance with the current laws of the USA.

Supplementary material

11032_2018_922_MOESM1_ESM.docx (16 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 16 kb)
11032_2018_922_MOESM2_ESM.pptx (442 kb)
Supplementary Fig. 1 Illustration of the development of the backcross mapping population derived from Rf ANN2-P21/RHA 274//Rf ANN2-P21, with one suppressor gene S1 controlling male fertility in the F1 hybrid. A homozygous MF female parent Rf ANN2-P21 (RfRfs1s1) with cytoplasm of CMS ANN2 was pollinated by RHA 274 (rfrfS1S1), resulting in the MS F1 (RfrfS1s1). The F1 was backcrossed with the pollen of homozygous MF female parent (RfRfs1s1), thus the ratio of MS:MF progeny in the BC1 generation was 1:1. Supplementary Fig. 2 Representative image of nine co-dominant semi-thermal asymmetric reverse PCR (STARP)-based SNP markers among parents and F1 plants of the cross Rf ANN2-P21/RHA 274 on a denaturing polyacrylamide gel. (Lanes 1 and 2) Female parent Rf ANN2-P21; (3 and 4) F1; (5 and 6) Male parent RHA 274; (7 and 8) Two homozygous male-fertile BC1 plants derived from Rf ANN2-P21/RHA 274//Rf ANN2-P21. (PPTX 442 kb)


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant SciencesNorth Dakota State UniversityFargoUSA
  2. 2.USDA-ARS, Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research CenterNorthern Crop Science LaboratoryFargoUSA

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