The transcription factor OsbHLH138 regulates thermosensitive genic male sterility in rice via activation of TMS5

Theor Appl Genet. 2019 Jun;132(6):1721-1732. doi: 10.1007/s00122-019-03310-7. Epub 2019 Feb 18.


Thermosensitive genic male sterile (TGMS) lines favored heterosis exploitation in two-line hybrid rice. TMS5, a member of RNase Z cleavages the UbL40 mRNAs, plays an important role in two-line hybrid rice. Here, we identified a new TGMS mutant 93-11s, which lost two amino acids in the first exon of TMS5 gene and caused thermosensitive genic male sterility in rice. The tms5-2 cannot process mRNAs of the ubiquitin fusion ribosomal protein L40 (UbL40) and hence cause the mRNAs accumulation in restrictive temperature. Further, we identified a nucleus-localized bHLH transcription factor OsbHLH138, which can form the basic helix-loop-helix structure and bind the core region of tms5-2 promoter sequences by bHLH domain, and activate expression of tms5-2 by the acidic amino acid-rich domain. These results indicate a novel mechanism for the tms5-2 regulating thermosensitive male sterility of rice. By altering expression of OsbHLH138, we can regulate the expression level of TMS5 and the accumulation of UbL40 mRNAs to command the male fertility in different temperatures. The identification of OsbHLH138 provides breeders a new choice for development of TGMS rice lines, which will favor the sustainable development of two-line hybrid rice.

MeSH terms

  • Oryza / genetics*
  • Plant Breeding
  • Plant Infertility / genetics*
  • Plant Proteins / genetics*
  • Temperature
  • Thermosensing / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*


  • Plant Proteins
  • Transcription Factors