Grain number, panicle seed setting rate, panicle number and grain weight are the most important components of rice grain yield. To date, several genes related to grain weight, grain number and panicle number have been described in rice. However, no genes regulating the panicle seed setting rate have been functionally characterized. Here we show that the domestication-related POLLEN TUBE BLOCKED 1 (PTB1), a RING-type E3 ubiquitin ligase, positively regulates the rice panicle seed setting rate by promoting pollen tube growth. The natural variation in expression of PTB1 which is affected by the promoter haplotype and the environmental temperature, correlates with the rice panicle seed setting rate. Our results support the hypothesis that PTB1 is an important maternal sporophytic factor of pollen tube growth and a key modulator of the rice panicle seed setting rate. This finding has implications for the improvement of rice yield.