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Crop Biotech Update

Cystatin Restores Fertility in Cysteine Protease-Induced Male Sterile Tobacco

March 23, 2016

Fertility restoration in male sterile plants is an essential requirement for their use in hybrid seed production. In previous studies, the targeted expression of a cysteine protease in tapetal cell layer resulted in complete male sterility in tobacco transgenic plants.

The team of Pawan Shukla from the University of Hyderabad in India used a cystatin gene, encoding a cysteine protease inhibitor, from a wild peanut, Arachis diogoi and developed a plant gene-based restoration system for cysteine protease induced male sterile transgenic tobacco plants.

The team confirmed the interaction between the cysteine protease and the cystatin of the wild peanut, A. diogoi. Pollen from the transgenic tobacco plants expressing cystatin gene restored fertility on cysteine protease-induced male sterile tobacco plants developed earlier. This confirmed the interaction of cysteine protease and cystatin in the tapetal cells, and the inactivation of cysteine protease and modulation of its negative effects on pollen fertility.

For more on the topic, read the full article on Plant Science.