Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 15, Issue 5, pp 735-746

First online:

Characterization of radish mitochondrial atpA: influence of nuclear background on transcription of atpA-associated sequences and relationship with male sterility

  • Christopher A. MakaroffAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, The University of Michigan
  • , Ingrid J. ApelAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, The University of Michigan
  • , Jeffrey D. PalmerAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, The University of Michigan

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We have previously shown that the mitochondrial gene atpA, encoding the α subunit of F1 ATP synthase, is associated with DNA rearrangements and nuclear-specific transcript patterns in the male-sterile cytoplasm of Ogura radish. Here we present a detailed characterization of this gene from both the normal (fertile) and Ogura (male-sterile) cytoplasms of radish to determine if it is involved in Ogura cytoplasmic male sterility. The normal and Ogura radish atpA loci are virtually identical for 3.8 kb, including a 507 codon open reading frame whose product is approximately 92% identical to other plant ATPA polypeptides. Rearrangement breakpoints have been identified 613 bp 5′ and 1663 bp 3′ to the atpA coding region. The 5′ rearrangement breakpoint is located within a repeated sequence that has been associated with other rearrangement events in radish mitochondria. The previously identified transcript difference results from transcription originating upstream of this rearrangement site. Although the presence of this transcript is affected by nuclear background, analyses in several different sterile and fertile nuclear backgrounds indicate that the presence of this transcript is not strictly correlated with male sterility. In addition, normal levels of ATPA polypeptide are present in sterile plants containing the Ogura cytoplasm.

Key words

cytoplasmic male sterility mitochondrial DNA nuclear-mitochondrial interactions Ogura cytoplasm rearrangements