ABA regulates apoplastic sugar transport and is a potential signal for cold-induced pollen sterility in rice

Plant Cell Physiol. 2007 Sep;48(9):1319-30. doi: 10.1093/pcp/pcm100. Epub 2007 Aug 10.


Cold temperatures cause pollen sterility and large reductions in grain yield in temperate rice growing regions of the world. Induction of pollen sterility by cold involves a disruption of sugar transport in anthers, caused by the cold-induced repression of the apoplastic sugar transport pathway in the tapetum. Here we demonstrate that the phytohormone ABA is a potential signal for cold-induced pollen sterility (CIPS). Cold treatment of the cold-sensitive cultivar Doongara resulted in increased anther ABA levels. Exogenous ABA treatment at the young microspore stage induced pollen sterility and affected cell wall invertase and monosaccharide transporter gene expression in a way similar to cold treatment. In the cold-tolerant cultivar R31, ABA levels were significantly lower under normal circumstances and remained low after cold treatment. The differences in endogenous ABA levels in Doongara and R31 correlated with differences in expression of the ABA biosynthetic genes encoding zeaxanthin epoxidase (OSZEP1) and 9-cis-epoxycarotenoid dioxygenase (OSNCED2, OSNCED3) in anthers. The expression of three ABA-8-hydroxylase genes (ABA8OX1, 2 and 3) in R31 anthers was higher under control conditions and was regulated differently by cold compared with Doongara. Our results indicate that the cold tolerance phenotype of R31 is correlated with lower endogenous ABA levels and a different regulation of ABA metabolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abscisic Acid / biosynthesis
  • Abscisic Acid / metabolism*
  • Abscisic Acid / pharmacology
  • Biological Transport
  • Cold Temperature*
  • Flowers / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Monosaccharides / metabolism*
  • Oryza / genetics
  • Oryza / physiology*
  • Plant Growth Regulators / biosynthesis
  • Plant Growth Regulators / metabolism*
  • Plant Growth Regulators / pharmacology
  • Plant Infertility
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Pollen / physiology*


  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins
  • Monosaccharides
  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • Plant Proteins
  • Abscisic Acid