Since plants retain genomes of an extremely large size in mitochondria (200-2,400 kb), and mitochondrial protein complexes are comprised of chimeric structures of nuclear- and mitochondrial-encoded subunits, coordination of gene expression between the nuclei and mitochondria is indispensable for sound plant development. It has been well documented that the nucleus regulates organelle gene expression. This regulation is called anterograde regulation. On the other hand, recent studies have demonstrated that signals emitted from organelles regulate nuclear gene expression. This process is known as retrograde signaling. Incompatibility caused by genome barriers between a nucleus and foreign mitochondria destines the fate of pollen to be dead in cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS), and studies of CMS confirm that pollen fertility is associated with anterograde/retrograde signaling. This review summarizes the current perspectives in CMS and fertility restoration, mainly from the viewpoint of anterograde/retrograde signaling.
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