, 215:44 | Cite as

Identifying the genes around Rf5 and Rf6 loci for the fertility restoration of WA-type cytoplasmic male sterile japonica rice (Oryza sativa) lines

  • Honggen Zhang
  • Xiaojun Cheng
  • Lijia Zhang
  • Qiaoquan Liu
  • Minghong Gu
  • Shuzhu TangEmail author


Wild abortive (WA)-type, Honglian (HL)-type, and Chinsurah Boro II-type cytoplasm are three typical sterile cytoplasms used to generate three-line hybrid rice, and the fertility restorer (Rf) genes are considered to have specificity for fertility restoration of cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) lines. ‘93-11’, an HL-type indica restorer line used widely in China, shows a weak ability to restore the fertility of WA-type CMS lines. Rf5 and Rf6, the fertility restorer genes for HL-type CMS, are members of a multigene cluster that encodes pentatricopeptide repeat proteins in ‘93-11’. In the present study, we studied the function of Rf genes around Rf5 and Rf6 loci on fertility restoration to WA-type CMS lines. We generated plants carrying WA-type cytoplasm and different genotypes at the Rf5 and Rf6 loci. All plants exhibited no seed setting on bagged panicles but had different anther and pollen grain morphologies. Plants with the genotypes of Rf5rf5rf6rf6, Rf5Rf5rf6rf6, rf5rf5Rf6rf6, rf5rf5Rf6Rf6, and Rf5rf5Rf6rf6 exhibited degraded anthers and typical abortive pollen grains, which were same as those of WA-NipA plants (rf5rf5rf6rf6); however, plants with the genotypes Rf5rf5Rf6Rf6, Rf5Rf5Rf6rf6, and Rf5Rf5Rf6Rf6 displayed restored anthers and pollen grains. These results indicated that Rf genes around the Rf5 and Rf6 loci had minor effects on the fertility restoration of WA-type CMS lines, which were mediated by dosage effects. Furthermore, these Rf genes functioned to decrease the WA352 (the mitochondrial gene conferring CMS-WA) transcript levels. Our findings will promote the development of three-line hybrids.


Rice Cytoplasmic male sterility Fertility restorer Gene effect 



This study was supported financially by The National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 31771743), The National Key Research and Development Program (2016YFD0101107), and a Project Funded by the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (PAPD).

Author contributions

HZ analyzed the data and drafted the manuscript. XC and LZ completed the phenotypic evaluations and data analyses. QL and MG were involved in designing the study. ST designed the study and revised the manuscript. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10681_2019_2368_MOESM1_ESM.docx (22 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 22 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Crop Genetics and Physiology/Key Laboratory of Plant Functional Genomics of the Ministry of Education/Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Crop Genomics and Molecular BreedingAgricultural College of Yangzhou UniversityYangzhouChina
  2. 2.Jiangsu Co-Innovation Center for Modern Production Technology of Grain CropsYangzhou UniversityYangzhouChina

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