The breeding and large-scale adoption of hybrid seeds is an important achievement in agriculture. Rice hybrid seed production uses cytoplasmic male sterile lines or photoperiod/thermo-sensitive genic male sterile lines (PTGMS) as female parent. Cytoplasmic male sterile lines are propagated via cross-pollination by corresponding maintainer lines, whereas PTGMS lines are propagated via self-pollination under environmental conditions restoring male fertility. Despite huge successes, both systems have their intrinsic drawbacks. Here, we constructed a rice male sterility system using a nuclear gene named Oryza sativa No Pollen 1 (OsNP1). OsNP1 encodes a putative glucose-methanol-choline oxidoreductase regulating tapetum degeneration and pollen exine formation; it is specifically expressed in the tapetum and miscrospores. The osnp1 mutant plant displays normal vegetative growth but complete male sterility insensitive to environmental conditions. OsNP1 was coupled with an α-amylase gene to devitalize transgenic pollen and the red fluorescence protein (DsRed) gene to mark transgenic seed and transformed into the osnp1 mutant. Self-pollination of the transgenic plant carrying a single hemizygous transgene produced nontransgenic male sterile and transgenic fertile seeds in 1:1 ratio that can be sorted out based on the red fluorescence coded by DsRed Cross-pollination of the fertile transgenic plants to the nontransgenic male sterile plants propagated the male sterile seeds of high purity. The male sterile line was crossed with ∼1,200 individual rice germplasms available. Approximately 85% of the F1s outperformed their parents in per plant yield, and 10% out-yielded the best local cultivars, indicating that the technology is promising in hybrid rice breeding and production.
Keywords: OsNP1; breeding; hybrid rice; hybrid seed production; male sterility.