Ms2 is an important dominant male-sterile gene in wheat, but the biochemical function of Ms2 and the mechanism by which it causes male sterility remain elusive. Here, we report the molecular basis underlying Ms2-induced male sterility in wheat. We found that activated Ms2 specifically reduces the reactive oxygen species (ROS) signals in anthers and thereby induces termination of wheat anther development at an early stage. Furthermore, our results indicate that Ms2 is localized in mitochondria, where it physically interacts with a wheat homolog of ROS modulator 1 (TaRomo1). Romo1 positively regulates the ROS levels in humans but has never been studied in plants. We found that single amino acid substitutions in the Ms2 protein that rescue the ms2 male-sterile phenotype abolish the interaction between Ms2 and TaRomo1. Significantly, Ms2 promotes the transition of TaRomo1 proteins from active monomers to inactive oligomers. Taken together, our findings unravel the molecular basis of Ms2-induced male sterility and reveal a regulatory mechanism in which ROS act as essential signals guiding the anther development program in wheat.

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