J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2017, Vol. 59 ›› Issue (9): 669-679.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12564

Special Issue: Sexual Reproductions CRISPR

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Suppression or knockout of SaF/SaM overcomes the Sa-mediated hybrid male sterility in rice

Yongyao Xie1,2,3†, Baixiao Niu3†‡, Yunming Long, Gousi Li1,2,3, Jintao Tang1,2,3, Yaling Zhang1,2,3, Ding Ren, Yao-Guang Liu1,3,4 and Letian Chen1,2,3,4*   

  1. 1State Key Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Subtropical Agro-Bioresources, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China
    2Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Protein Function and Regulation in Agricultural Organisms, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China
    3College of Life Sciences, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China
    4Key Laboratory of Plant Functional Genomics and Biotechnology of Guangdong Provincial Higher Education Institutions, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China
  • Received:2017-06-08 Accepted:2017-06-19 Published:2017-06-21
  • About author:These authors contributed equally to this study
    Present address: Key Laboratory of Crop Genetics and Physiology of Jiangsu Province, College of Agriculture, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou 225009, China
    §Present address: Department of Plant Sciences, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58108, USA
    Present address: State Key Laboratory of Genetic Engineering and Collaborative Innovation Center of Genetics and Development, Institute of Plant Biology, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, School of Life Sciences, Fudan University, Shanghai 200438, China
    *Correspondence: E-mail: Letian Chen (lotichen@scau.edu.cn)


Hybrids between the indica and japonica subspecies of rice (Oryza sativa) are usually sterile, which hinders utilization of heterosis in the inter-subspecific hybrid breeding. The complex locus Sa comprises two adjacently located genes, SaF and SaM, which interact to cause abortion of pollen grains carrying the japonica allele in japonica-indica hybrids. Here we showed that silencing of SaF or SaM by RNA interference restored male fertility in indica-japonica hybrids with heterozygous Sa. We further used clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9-based genome editing to knockout the SaF and SaM alleles, respectively, of an indica rice line to create hybrid-compatible lines. The resultant artificial neutral alleles did not affect pollen viability and other agricultural traits, but did break down the reproductive barrier in the hybrids. We found that some rice lines have natural neutral allele Sa-n, which was compatible with the typical japonica or indica Sa alleles in hybrids. Our results demonstrate that SaF and SaM are required for hybrid male sterility, but are not essential for pollen development. This study provides effective approaches for the generation of hybrid-compatible lines by knocking out the Sa locus or using the natural Sa-n allele to overcome hybrid male sterility in rice breeding. © 2017 The Authors. Bioelectromagnetics published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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