EAT1 promotes tapetal cell death by regulating aspartic proteases during male reproductive development in rice

Nat Commun. 2013:4:1445. doi: 10.1038/ncomms2396.


Programmed cell death is essential for the development of multicellular organisms, yet pathways of plant programmed cell death and its regulation remain elusive. Here we report that ETERNAL TAPETUM 1, a basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor conserved in land plants, positively regulates programmed cell death in tapetal cells in rice anthers. eat1 exhibits delayed tapetal cell death and aborted pollen formation. ETERNAL TAPETUM 1 directly regulates the expression of OsAP25 and OsAP37, which encode aspartic proteases that induce programmed cell death in both yeast and plants. Expression and genetic analyses revealed that ETERNAL TAPETUM 1 acts downstream of TAPETUM DEGENERATION RETARDATION, another positive regulator of tapetal programmed cell death, and that ETERNAL TAPETUM 1 can also interact with the TAPETUM DEGENERATION RETARDATION protein. This study demonstrates that ETERNAL TAPETUM 1 promotes aspartic proteases triggering plant programmed cell death, and reveals a dynamic regulatory cascade in male reproductive development in rice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Aspartic Acid Proteases / metabolism*
  • Base Sequence
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors / chemistry
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Cell Death
  • Chromosomes, Plant / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genes, Plant / genetics
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Organ Specificity
  • Oryza / cytology*
  • Oryza / enzymology*
  • Oryza / genetics
  • Oryza / ultrastructure
  • Phenotype
  • Phylogeny
  • Physical Chromosome Mapping
  • Plant Proteins / chemistry*
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Pollen / cytology*
  • Pollen / enzymology*
  • Pollen / ultrastructure
  • Protein Binding
  • Reproduction
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / cytology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism


  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Plant Proteins
  • Aspartic Acid Proteases