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Non-coding RNAs and plant male sterility: current knowledge and future prospects

Mishra, A. and Bohra, A. (2018) Non-coding RNAs and plant male sterility: current knowledge and future prospects. Plant Cell Reports, 37 (2). pp. 177-191.

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Male sterility in plants offers great opportunity for improving crop performance through application of hybrid technology. In this respect, cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) and sterility induced by photoperiod (PGMS)/temperature (TGMS) have greatly facilitated development of high-yielding hybrids in crops. Participation of non-coding (nc) RNA molecules in plant reproductive development is increasingly becoming evident. Recent breakthroughs in rice definitively associate ncRNAs with PGMS and TGMS. In case of CMS, the exact mechanism through which the mitochondrial ORFs exert influence on the development of male gametophyte remains obscure in several crops. High-throughput sequencing has enabled genome-wide discovery and validation of these regulatory molecules and their target genes, describing their potential roles performed in relation to CMS. Discovery of ncRNA localized in plant mtDNA with its possible implication in CMS induction is intriguing in this respect. Still, conclusive evidences linking ncRNA with CMS phenotypes are currently unavailable, demanding complementing genetic approaches like transgenics to substantiate the preliminary findings. Here, we review the recent literature on the contribution of ncRNAs in conferring male sterility to plants, with an emphasis on microRNAs. Also, we present a perspective on improved understanding about ncRNA-mediated regulatory pathways that control male sterility in plants. A refined understanding of plant male sterility would strengthen crop hybrid industry to deliver hybrids with improved performance.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Springer Verlag
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