Molecular population genetics of floral homeotic loci. Departures from the equilibrium-neutral model at the APETALA3 and PISTILLATA genes of Arabidopsis thaliana.
ABSTRACT: Molecular variation in genes that regulate development provides insights into the evolutionary processes that shape the diversification of morphogenetic pathways. Intraspecific sequence variation at the APETALA3 and PISTILLATA floral homeotic genes of Arabidopsis thaliana was analyzed to infer the extent and nature of diversity at these regulatory loci. Comparison of AP3 and PI diversity with three previously studied genes revealed several features in the patterning of nucleotide polymorphisms common between Arabidopsis nuclear loci, including an excess of low-frequency nucleotide polymorphisms and significantly elevated levels of intraspecific replacement variation. This pattern suggests that A. thaliana has undergone recent, rapid population expansion and now exists in small, inbred subpopulations. The elevated intraspecific replacement levels may thus represent slightly deleterious polymorphisms that differentiate distinct ecotypes. The distribution of replacement and synonymous changes in AP3 and PI core and noncore functional domains also indicates differences in the patterns of molecular evolution between these interacting floral regulatory genes.
Project description:Changes in homeotic gene expression patterns or in the functions of the encoded proteins are thought to play a prominent role in the evolution of new morphologies. The floral homeotic APETALA3 (AP3) and PISTILLATA (PI) genes encode MADS domain-containing transcription factors required to specify petal and stamen identities in Arabidopsis. We have previously shown that perianth expression of AP3 and PI homologs varies in different groups of angiosperms with diverse floral structures, suggesting that changes in expression may contribute to changing morphology. We have investigated the possibility that changes in the functions of the encoded gene products may also have played a role in the evolution of different floral morphologies. AP3 and PI are members of paralogous gene lineages and share extensive similarity along the length of the protein products. Genes within these lineages encode products with characteristic C-terminal motifs that we show are critical for functional specificity. In particular, the C terminus of AP3 is sufficient to confer AP3 functionality on the heterologous PI protein. Furthermore, we have shown that the evolution of the divergent AP3 C-terminal domain in the core eudicots is correlated with the acquisition of a role in specifying perianth structures. These results suggest that divergence in these sequence motifs has contributed to the evolution of distinct functions for these floral homeotic gene products.
Project description:In Arabidopsis thaliana expression of the B-class MADS-box genes APETALA3 (AP3) and PISTILLATA (PI) is confined to petals and stamens but in other plant species these genes are also transcribed in non-flower tissues; in Solanum tuberosum they are transcribed specifically in vascular bundles leading to petals and stamens. Transcription analysis of B-class genes in Eranthis hyemalis using reverse transcribed in situ PCR revealed that both AP3 and PI are expressed in developing vascular bundles in the tuberous rhizome, flowering stem and floral primordia. In addition, AP3 and PI transcripts are also found in stems and leaves. These results suggest a more complex role of B-class genes in Eranthis and possible involvement in the development of vascular tissue.
Project description:How different organs are formed from small sets of undifferentiated precursor cells is a key question in developmental biology. To understand the molecular mechanisms underlying organ specification in plants, we studied the function of the homeotic selector genes APETALA3 (AP3) and PISTILLATA (PI), which control the formation of petals and stamens during Arabidopsis flower development. To this end, we characterized the activities of the transcription factors that AP3 and PI encode throughout flower development by using perturbation assays as well as transcript profiling and genomewide localization studies, in combination with a floral induction system that allows a stage-specific analysis of flower development by genomic technologies. We discovered considerable spatial and temporal differences in the requirement for AP3/PI activity during flower formation and show that they control different sets of genes at distinct phases of flower development. The genomewide identification of target genes revealed that AP3/PI act as bifunctional transcription factors: they activate genes involved in the control of numerous developmental processes required for organogenesis and repress key regulators of carpel formation. Our results imply considerable changes in the composition and topology of the gene network controlled by AP3/PI during the course of flower development. We discuss our results in light of a model for the mechanism underlying sex-determination in seed plants, in which AP3/PI orthologues might act as a switch between the activation of male and the repression of female development.
Project description:The evolution of interspecies differences in morphology requires sufficient within-species variation in developmental regulatory systems on which evolutionary forces can act. Molecular analyses of naturally occurring alleles of the Arabidopsis thaliana CAULIFLOWER locus reveal considerable intraspecific diversity at this floral homeotic gene, and the McDonald-Kreitman test suggests that this gene is evolving in a nonneutral fashion, with an excess of intraspecific replacement polymorphisms. The naturally occurring molecular variation within this floral regulatory gene is associated with functionally different alleles, which can be distinguished phenotypically by their differential ability to direct floral meristem development.
Project description:Characterization of the activities of the transcription factors that AP3 and PI encode throughout flower development using perturbation assays in combination with a floral induction system (FIS) that allows a stage-specific analysis of flower development. The series contains two types of perturbation experiments, static permutations (null alleles pi-1 and ap3-3, respectively) and dynamic perturbations (temperature-sensitive ap3-1 allele). Two conditions (i.e. genotypes: ap3-3 or pi-1 homozygous in the FIS vs ap3-3 or pi-1 heterozygous in the FIS, respectively / ap3-1 plants vs AP3 plants shifted from 16degrees to 27 degrees ) at three developmental stages each
Project description:Characterization of the activities of the transcription factors that AP3 and PI encode throughout flower development using perturbation and ChIPSeq assays in combination with a floral induction system (FIS) that allows a stage-specific analysis of flower development. Examination of genomic regions bound by fully functional AP3-GFP and PI-GFP proteins at approx floral stage 4-5 as compared to a negative control sample
Project description:The floral developmental pathway in Arabidopsis thaliana is composed of several interacting regulatory genes, including the inflorescence architecture gene TERMINAL FLOWER1 (TFL1), the floral meristem identity genes LEAFY (LFY), APETALA1 (AP1), and CAULIFLOWER (CAL), and the floral organ identity genes APETALA3 (AP3) and PISTILLATA (PI). Molecular population genetic analyses of these different genes indicate that the coding regions of AP3 and PI, as well as AP1 and CAL, share similar levels and patterns of nucleotide diversity. In contrast, the coding regions of TFL1 and LFY display a significant reduction in nucleotide variation, suggesting that these sequences have been subjected to a recent adaptive sweep. Moreover, the promoter of TFL1, unlike its coding region, displays high levels of diversity organized into two distinct haplogroups that appear to be maintained by selection. These results suggest that patterns of molecular evolution differ among regulatory genes in this developmental pathway, with the earlier acting genes exhibiting evidence of adaptive evolution.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND AIMS: According to the floral ABC model, B-function genes appear to play a key role in the origin and diversification of the perianth during the evolution of angiosperms. The basal angiosperm Hedyosmum orientale (Chloranthaceae) has unisexual inflorescences associated with a seemingly primitive reproductive morphology and a reduced perianth structure in female flowers. The aim of this study was to investigate the nature of the perianth and the evolutionary state of the B-function programme in this species. METHODS: A series of experiments were conducted to characterize B-gene homologues isolated from H. orientale, including scanning electron microscopy to observe the development of floral organs, phylogenetic analysis to reconstruct gene evolutionary history, reverse transcription-PCR, quantitative real-time PCR and in situ hybridization to identify gene expression patterns, the yeast two-hybrid assay to explore protein dimerization affinities, and transgenic analyses in Arabidopsis thaliana to determine activities of the encoded proteins. KEY RESULTS: The expression of HoAP3 genes was restricted to stamens, whereas HoPI genes were broadly expressed in all floral organs. HoAP3 was able to partially restore the stamen but not petal identity in Arabidopsis ap3-3 mutants. In contrast, HoPI could rescue aspects of both stamen and petal development in Arabidopsis pi-1 mutants. When the complete C-terminal sequence of HoPI was deleted, however, no or weak transgenic phenotypes were observed and homodimerization capability was completely abolished. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that Hedyosmum AP3-like genes have an ancestral function in specifying male reproductive organs, and that the activity of the encoded PI-like proteins is highly conserved between Hedyosmum and Arabidopsis. Moreover, there is evidence that the C-terminal region is important for the function of HoPI. Our findings indicate that the development of the proposed perianth in Hedyosmum does not rely on the B homeotic function.
Project description:MIKCC-type MADS-box (MIKCC) genes encode transcription factors that have crucial roles in controlling floral organogenesis and flowering time in plants. Although this gene family has been well characterized in many plant species, its evolutionary and comprehensive functional analysis in rose is lacking. In this study, 58 non-redundant MIKCC uni-transcripts were extensively identified from rose transcriptomes. Phylogenetic analysis placed these genes into 12 clades with their Arabidopsis and strawberry counterparts, and revealed that ABCDE model (including AP1/FUL, AP3/PI, AG, and SEP clades), and SOC1 and AGL6 clade genes have remarkably expanded in Rosa chinensis, whereas genes from the FLC and AGL17 clades were undetectable. Sequence alignments suggest that the AP3/PI clade may contribute to more specific functions in rose due to a high variation of amino acid residues within its MADS-box domains. A comparative analysis of gene expression in specific floral organ differentiation stages and floral organs between R. chinensis cv. Old Blush and the closely related mutant genotype R. chinensis cv. Viridiflora (floral organs mutated into leaf-like structures) further revealed the roles of ABCDE model genes during floral organogenesis in rose. Analysis of co-expression networks provided an overview of the regulatory mechanisms of rose MIKCC genes and shed light on both the prominent roles of AP3/PI clade genes in floral organogenesis and the roles of RcAGL19, RcAGL24, and RcSOC1 in regulating floral transition in rose. Our analyses provide an overall insight of MIKCC genes in rose and their potential roles in floral organogenesis.
Project description:The development of floral organs plays a vital role in plant reproduction. In our research, the APETALA3 (AP3) promoter-transgenic lines showed abnormal developmental phenotypes in stamens and petals. The aim of this study is to understand the molecular mechanisms of the morphological defects in transgenic plants. By performing transgenic analysis, it was found that the AP3-promoted genes and the vector had no relation to the morphological defects. Then, we performed the expression analysis of the class A, B, and C genes. A dramatic reduction of transcript levels of class B genes (AP3 and PISTILLATA) was observed. Additionally, we also analyzed the methylation of the promoters of class B genes and found that the promoter of AP3 was hypermethylated. Furthermore, combining mutations in rdr2-2, drm1/2, and nrpd1b-11 with the AP3-silencing lines rescued the abnormal development of stamens and petals. The expression of AP3 was reactivated and the methylation level of AP3 promoter was also reduced in RdDM-defective AP3-silencing lines. Our results showed that the RdDM pathway contributed to the transcriptional silencing in the transgenic AP3-silencing lines. Moreover, the results revealed that fact that the exogenous fragment of a promoter could trigger the methylation of homologous endogenous sequences, which may be ubiquitous in transgenic plants.