Defective Tapetum Cell Death 1 (DTC1) Regulates ROS Levels by Binding to Metallothionein during Tapetum Degeneration

Plant Physiol. 2016 Mar;170(3):1611-23. doi: 10.1104/pp.15.01561. Epub 2015 Dec 23.


After meiosis, tapetal cells in the innermost anther wall layer undergo program cell death (PCD)-triggered degradation. This step is essential for microspore development and pollen wall maturation. We identified a key gene, Defective Tapetum Cell Death 1 (DTC1), that controls this degeneration by modulating the dynamics of reactive oxygen species (ROS) during rice male reproduction. Mutants defective in DTC1 exhibit phenotypes of an enlarged tapetum and middle layer with delayed degeneration, causing male sterility. The gene is preferentially expressed in the tapetal cells during early anther development. In dtc1 anthers, expression of genes encoding secretory proteases or lipid transporters is significantly reduced, while transcripts of PCD regulatory genes, e.g. UDT1, TDR1, and EAT1/DTD, are not altered. Moreover, levels of DTC1 transcripts are diminished in udt1, tdr, and eat1 anthers. These results suggest that DTC1 functions downstream of those transcription factor genes and upstream of the genes encoding secretory proteins. DTC1 protein interacts with OsMT2b, a ROS scavenger. Whereas wild-type plants accumulate large amounts of ROS in their anthers at Stage 9 of development, those levels remain low during all stages of development in dtc1 anthers. These findings indicate that DTC1 is a key regulator for tapetum PCD by inhibiting ROS-scavenging activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Flowers / genetics
  • Flowers / metabolism*
  • Flowers / ultrastructure
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Metallothionein / metabolism*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Mutation
  • Oryza / cytology
  • Oryza / genetics
  • Oryza / metabolism
  • Phylogeny
  • Plant Infertility / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Pollen / genetics
  • Pollen / metabolism*
  • Pollen / ultrastructure
  • Protein Binding
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Plant Proteins
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Metallothionein