Abnormal Anther Development Leads to Lower Spikelet Fertility in Rice (Oryza Sativa L.) Under High Temperature During the Panicle Initiation Stage
Background: Decreased spikelet fertility is often responsible for reduction in grain yield in rice (Oryza sativa L.). In this study, two varieties with different levels of heat tolerance, Liangyoupeijiu (LYPJ, heat susceptible) and Shanyou63 (SY63, heat tolerant) were subjected to two temperature treatments for 28 days during the panicle initiation stage in temperature/relative humidity-controlled greenhouses: high temperature (HT; 37/27℃; day/night) and control temperature (CK; 31/27℃;
... CK; 31/27℃; day/night) to investigate changes in anther development under HT during panicle initiation and their relationship with spikelet fertility.Results: HT significantly decreased the grain yield of LYPJ by decreasing the number of spikelets per panicle and seed setting percentage. In addition, HT produced minor adverse effects in SY63. The decreased spikelet fertility was primarily attributed to decreased pollen viability and anther dehiscence, as well as poor pollen shedding of the anthers of LYPJ under HT. HT resulted in abnormal anther development (fewer vacuolated microspores, un-degraded tapetum, unevenly distributed Ubisch bodies) and malformation of pollen (obscure outline of the pollen exine with a collapsed bacula, disordered tectum, and no nexine of the pollen walls, uneven sporopollenin deposition on the surface of pollen grains) in LYPJ, which may have lowered pollen viability. Additionally, HT produced a compact knitted anther cuticle structure of the epidermis, an un-degraded septum, a thickened anther wall, unevenly distributed Ubisch bodies, and inhibition of the confluent locule, and these malformed structures may be partially responsible for the decreased anther dehiscence rate and reduced pollen shedding of the anthers in LYPJ. In contrast, the anther wall and pollen development of SY63 were not substantially changed under HT. Conclusions: Our results suggest that disturbed anther walls and pollen development are responsible for the reduced spikelet fertility and grain yield of the tested heat susceptible variety, and noninvasive anthers and pollen formation in response to HT were associated with improved heat tolerance.