The Texas Cytoplasm of Maize: Cytoplasmic Male Sterility and Disease Susceptibility

Science  16 Nov 1990:
Vol. 250, Issue 4983, pp. 942-947
DOI: 10.1126/science.250.4983.942


The Texas cytoplasm of maize carries two cytoplasmically inherited traits, male sterility and disease susceptibility, which have been of great interest both for basic research and plant breeding. The two traits are inseparable and are associated with an unusual mitochondrial gene, T-urf13, which encodes a 13-kilodalton polypeptide (URF13). An interaction between fungal toxins and URF13, which results in permeabilization of the inner mitochondrial membrane, accounts for the specific susceptibility to the fungal pathogens.