Disruption of a gene for rice sucrose transporter, OsSUT1, impairs pollen function but pollen maturation is unaffected

J Exp Bot. 2010 Aug;61(13):3639-46. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erq175. Epub 2010 Jul 5.


Sucrose transporters (SUTs) are known to play critical roles in the uptake of sucrose from the apoplast in various steps of sugar translocation. Because developing pollen is symplastically isolated from anther tissues, it is hypothesized that SUTs are active in the uptake of apoplastic sucrose into pollen. To investigate this possibility, a comprehensive expression analysis was performed for members of the SUT gene family in the developing pollen of rice (Oryza sativa L.) using real-time RT-PCR combined with a laser microdissection technique. Among the five SUT genes, OsSUT1 and OsSUT3 were found to be preferentially expressed and had temporal expression patterns that were distinct from each other. Expression of OsSUT1 in pollen was confirmed by a promoter-GUS fusion assay. The physiological function of OsSUT1 in pollen was further investigated using retrotransposon insertion mutant lines. While the homozygote of disrupted OsSUT1 (SUT1-/-) could not be obtained, heterozygote plants (SUT1+/-) showed normal grain filling. Their progeny segregated into SUT1+/- and SUT1+/+ with the ratio of 1:1, suggesting that the pollen disrupted for OsSUT1 is dysfunctional. This hypothesis was reinforced in vivo by a backcross of SUT1+/- plants with wild-type plants and also by in vitro pollen germination on the artificial media. However, starch accumulation during pollen development was not affected by disruption of OsSUT1, suggesting that the sugar(s) required for starch biosynthesis is supplied by other sugar transporters.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport / genetics
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Oryza* / genetics
  • Oryza* / growth & development
  • Oryza* / metabolism
  • Plant Proteins / genetics*
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Pollen* / genetics
  • Pollen* / growth & development
  • Pollen* / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Starch / metabolism


  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Plant Proteins
  • Starch