The hybrid pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan) breeding technology based on cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) is currently unique among legumes and displays major potential for yield increase. CMS is defined as a condition in which a plant is unable to produce functional pollen grains. The novel chimeric open reading frames (ORFs) produced as a results of mitochondrial genome rearrangements are considered to be the main cause of CMS. To identify these CMS-related ORFs in pigeonpea, we sequenced the mitochondrial genomes of three C. cajan lines (the male-sterile line ICPA 2039, the maintainer line ICPB 2039, and the hybrid line ICPH 2433) and of the wild relative (Cajanus cajanifolius ICPW 29). A single, circular-mapping molecule of length 545.7 kb was assembled and annotated for the ICPA 2039 line. Sequence annotation predicted 51 genes, including 34 protein-coding and 17 RNA genes. Comparison of the mitochondrial genomes from different Cajanus genotypes identified 31 ORFs, which differ between lines within which CMS is present or absent. Among these chimeric ORFs, 13 were identified by comparison of the related male-sterile and maintainer lines. These ORFs display features that are known to trigger CMS in other plant species and to represent the most promising candidates for CMS-related mitochondrial rearrangements in pigeonpea.
Keywords: cytoplasmic male sterility; mitochondria; next-generation sequencing; open reading frames; pigeonpea.