Transgenerational conditioned male fertility of HD-ZIP IV transcription factor mutant ocl4: impact on 21-nt phasiRNA accumulation in pre-meiotic maize anthers

Pranjal Yadava, Saleh Tamim, Han Zhang, Chong Teng, Xue Zhou, Blake C. Meyers, Virginia Walbot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Key message: Maize Outer cell layer 4 (ocl4) encodes an HD-ZIP IV transcription factor required for robust male fertility and 21-nt phasiRNA biogenesis. ocl4 fertility is favored in warm conditions, and phasiRNAs are partially restored. Abstract: Environment-sensitive male-sterile plants have been described before and can result from different molecular mechanisms and biological processes, but putative environment-conditioned, transgenerational rescue of their male fertility is a rather new mystery. Here, we report a derivative line of the male-sterile outer cell layer 4 (ocl4) mutant of maize, in which fertility was restored and perpetuated over several generations. Conditioned fertile ocl4 anthers exhibit the anatomical abnormality of a partially duplicated endothecial layer, just like their sterile counterparts. We profiled the dynamics of phased, small interfering RNAs (phasiRNAs) during pre-meiotic development in fully sterile and various grades of semi-fertile ocl4 anthers. The conditioned fertile anthers accumulated significantly higher 21-nt phasiRNAs compared to ocl4 sterile samples, suggesting a partial restoration of phasiRNAs in conditioned fertility. We found that the biogenesis of 21-nt phasiRNAs is largely dependent on Ocl4 at three key steps: (1) production of PHAS precursor transcripts, (2) expression of miR2118 that modulates precursor processing, and (3) accumulation of 21-nt phasiRNAs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-129
Number of pages13
JournalPlant Reproduction
Volume34
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Keywords

  • Conditioned fertility
  • Maize
  • Male sterility
  • Ocl4
  • PhasiRNA

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