Jung KH, Han MJ, Lee YS, Kim YW, Hwang I, Kim MJ, Kim YK, Nahm BH, An G.
The tapetum, the innermost of four sporophytic layers in the anther wall, comes in direct contact with the developing male gametophyte and is thought to play a crucial role in the development and maturation of microspores. Here, we report the identification of rice (Oryza sativa) Undeveloped Tapetum1 (Udt1), which is required for the differentiation of secondary parietal cells to mature tapetal cells. T-DNA or retrotransposon Tos17 insertions in the Udt1 gene caused male sterility. The anther walls and meiocytes of the mutants were normal during the early premeiosis stage, but their tapeta failed to differentiate and became vacuolated during the meiotic stage. In addition, meiocytes did not develop to microspores, and middle layer degeneration was inhibited. Consequently, the anther locules contained no pollen. The UDT1:green fluorescent protein fusion protein was localized to the nucleus. This, together with its homology with other basic helix-loop-helix proteins, suggests that UDT1 is a transcription factor. DNA microarray analysis identified 958 downregulated and 267 upregulated genes in the udt1-1 anthers, suggesting that Udt1 plays a major role in maintaining tapetum development, starting in early meiosis.