Cytoplasmic male sterility-related protein kinase, OsNek3, is regulated downstream of mitochondrial protein phosphatase 2C, DCW11

Plant Cell Physiol. 2009 Apr;50(4):828-37. doi: 10.1093/pcp/pcp026. Epub 2009 Feb 18.


OsNek3 (Oryza sativa L. NIMA-related kinase) and DCW11 encoding a mitochondrial putative protein phosphatase 2C were found in our previous microarray study as down-regulated genes in the rice CW-CMS line, which lacked pollen germination ability. Further analysis of DCW11 revealed that DCW11 is strongly correlated with CW-CMS occurrence. Here we show the relationship between OsNek3 and DCW11. OsNek3 was preferentially expressed in mature pollen. A knockout mutant with Tos17 inserted into OsNek3 did not show any pollen-defective phenotype. On the other hand, plants overexpressing OsNek3 occasionally produced a peculiar pollen structure in which the outer cell wall of four pollen grains fused together even at the mature pollen stages, which resembled that of quartet mutants in Arabidopsis. OsNek3 was shown to interact with a LIM domain-containing protein, OsPLIM2b, whose expression was strongly specific in mature pollen, suggesting that OsNek3 might play a role in pollen germination. OsNek3 was shown to be down-regulated in DCW11-knockdown lines, whereas osnek3 mutation did not result in DCW11 down-regulation. These results suggest that OsNek3 is downstream of DCW11 in retrograde signaling from the mitochondria to the nucleus and is involved in CW-CMS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Gene Knockout Techniques
  • Genes, Plant
  • Mitochondria / enzymology
  • Mutation
  • Oryza / genetics*
  • Oryza / metabolism
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases / metabolism
  • Plant Infertility / genetics*
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Pollen / genetics*
  • Pollen / metabolism
  • Protein Phosphatase 2C
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • RNA, Plant / genetics


  • Plant Proteins
  • RNA, Plant
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases
  • Protein Phosphatase 2C