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    Successful male gametogenesis involves orchestration of sequential gene regulation for somatic differentiation in pre-meiotic anthers. We report here the cloning of Male Sterile23 (Ms23), encoding an anther-specific predicted basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor required for tapetal differentiation; transcripts localize initially to the precursor secondary parietal cells then predominantly to daughter tapetal cells. In knockout ms23-ref mutant anthers, five instead of the normal four wall layers are observed. Microarray transcript profiling demonstrates a more severe developmental disruption in ms23-ref than in ms32 anthers, which possess a different bHLH defect. RNA-seq and proteomics data together with yeast two-hybrid assays suggest that MS23 along with MS32, bHLH122 and bHLH51 act sequentially as either homo- or heterodimers to choreograph tapetal development. Among them, MS23 is the earliest-acting factor, upstream of bHLH51 and bHLH122, controlling tapetal specification and maturation. By contrast, MS32 is constitutive and independently regulated and is required later than MS23 in tapetal differentiation. © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.


    Guo-Ling Nan, Jixian Zhai, Siwaret Arikit, Darren Morrow, John Fernandes, Lan Mai, Nhi Nguyen, Blake C Meyers, Virginia Walbot. MS23, a master basic helix-loop-helix factor, regulates the specification and development of the tapetum in maize. Development (Cambridge, England). 2017 Jan 01;144(1):163-172

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    PMID: 27913638

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