Expression of CP4 EPSPS in microspores and tapetum cells of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) is critical for male reproductive development in response to late-stage glyphosate applications.

Research paper by Yun-Chia Sophia YC Chen, Christopher C Hubmeier, Minhtien M Tran, Amy A Martens, R Eric RE Cerny, R Doug RD Sammons, Claire C CaJacob

Indexed on: 21 Feb '07Published on: 21 Feb '07Published in: Plant Biotechnology Journal


Plants expressing Agrobacterium sp. strain CP4 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (CP4 EPSPS) are known to be resistant to glyphosate, a potent herbicide that inhibits the activity of the endogenous plant EPSPS. The RR1445 transgenic cotton line (current commercial line for Roundup Ready Cotton) was generated using the figwort mosaic virus (FMV) 35S promoter to drive the expression of the CP4 EPSPS gene, and has excellent vegetative tolerance to glyphosate. However, with high glyphosate application rates at developmental stages later than the four-leaf stage (late-stage applications: applications that are inconsistent with the Roundup labels), RR1445 shows male sterility. Another transgenic cotton line, RR60, was generated using the FMV 35S promoter and the Arabidopsis elongation factor-1alpha promoter (AtEF1alpha) for the expression of CP4 EPSPS. RR60 has excellent vegetative and reproductive tolerance to applications of glyphosate at all developmental stages. Histochemical analyses were conducted to examine the male reproductive development at the cellular level of these cotton lines in response to glyphosate applications, and to investigate the correlation between glyphosate injury and the expression of CP4 EPSPS in male reproductive tissues. The expression of CP4 EPSPS in RR60 was found to be strong in all male reproductive cell types. Conversely, CP4 EPSPS expression in RR1445 was low in pollen mother cells, male gametophytes and tapetum, three crucial male reproductive cell types. Our results indicate that the FMV 35S promoter, although expressing strongly in most vegetative tissues in plants, has extremely low activity in these cell types.