Comparative transcriptomics among floral organs of the basal eudicot Eschscholzia californica as reference for floral evolutionary developmental studies.
ABSTRACT: Molecular genetic studies of floral development have concentrated on several core eudicots and grasses (monocots), which have canalized floral forms. Basal eudicots possess a wider range of floral morphologies than the core eudicots and grasses and can serve as an evolutionary link between core eudicots and monocots, and provide a reference for studies of other basal angiosperms. Recent advances in genomics have enabled researchers to profile gene activities during floral development, primarily in the eudicot Arabidopsis thaliana and the monocots rice and maize. However, our understanding of floral developmental processes among the basal eudicots remains limited.Using a recently generated expressed sequence tag (EST) set, we have designed an oligonucleotide microarray for the basal eudicot Eschscholzia californica (California poppy). We performed microarray experiments with an interwoven-loop design in order to characterize the E. californica floral transcriptome and to identify differentially expressed genes in flower buds with pre-meiotic and meiotic cells, four floral organs at preanthesis stages (sepals, petals, stamens and carpels), developing fruits, and leaves.Our results provide a foundation for comparative gene expression studies between eudicots and basal angiosperms. We identified whorl-specific gene expression patterns in E. californica and examined the floral expression of several gene families. Interestingly, most E. californica homologs of Arabidopsis genes important for flower development, except for genes encoding MADS-box transcription factors, show different expression patterns between the two species. Our comparative transcriptomics study highlights the unique evolutionary position of E. californica compared with basal angiosperms and core eudicots.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The floral homeotic C function gene AGAMOUS (AG) confers stamen and carpel identity and is involved in the regulation of floral meristem termination in Arabidopsis. Arabidopsis ag mutants show complete homeotic conversions of stamens into petals and carpels into sepals as well as indeterminacy of the floral meristem. Gene function analysis in model core eudicots and the monocots rice and maize suggest a conserved function for AG homologs in angiosperms. At the same time gene phylogenies reveal a complex history of gene duplications and repeated subfunctionalization of paralogs. RESULTS: EScaAG1 and EScaAG2, duplicate AG homologs in the basal eudicot Eschscholzia californica show a high degree of similarity in sequence and expression, although EScaAG2 expression is lower than EScaAG1 expression. Functional studies employing virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) demonstrate that knock down of EScaAG1 and 2 function leads to homeotic conversion of stamens into petaloid structures and defects in floral meristem termination. However, carpels are transformed into petaloid organs rather than sepaloid structures. We also show that a reduction of EScaAG1 and EScaAG2 expression leads to significantly increased expression of a subset of floral homeotic B genes. CONCLUSIONS: This work presents expression and functional analysis of the two basal eudicot AG homologs. The reduction of EScaAG1 and 2 functions results in the change of stamen to petal identity and a transformation of the central whorl organ identity from carpel into petal identity. Petal identity requires the presence of the floral homeotic B function and our results show that the expression of a subset of B function genes extends into the central whorl when the C function is reduced. We propose a model for the evolution of B function regulation by C function suggesting that the mode of B function gene regulation found in Eschscholzia is ancestral and the C-independent regulation as found in Arabidopsis is evolutionarily derived.
Project description:Eudicots, the most diverse of the three major clades of living angiosperms, are first recognized in the latest Barremian-earliest Aptian. All Early Cretaceous forms appear to be related to species-poor lineages that diverged before the rise of core eudicots, which today comprise more than 70% of angiosperm species. Here, we report the discovery of a well-preserved flower, Caliciflora mauldinensis, from the earliest Late Cretaceous, with unequivocal core eudicot features, including five sepals, five petals and two whorls of stamens borne on the rim of a floral cup containing three free carpels. Pollen is tricolporate. Carpels mature into follicular fruitlets. This character combination suggests a phylogenetic position among rosids, but more specific assignment is precluded by complex patterns of character evolution among the very large number of potentially relevant extant taxa. The whorled floral organization is consistent with ideas that this stable pattern evolved early and was a prerequisite for more integrated patterns of floral architecture that evolved later. However, limited floral synorganization in Caliciflora and all earlier eudicot flowers recognized so far, calls into question hypotheses that substantial diversification of core eudicots had already occurred by the end of the Early Cretaceous.
Project description:ABCE-class MADS domain transcription factors (MTFs) are key regulators of floral organ development in angiosperms. Aberrant expression of these genes can result in abnormal floral traits such as phyllody. Phyllogen is a virulence factor conserved in phytoplasmas, plant pathogenic bacteria of the class Mollicutes. It triggers phyllody in Arabidopsis thaliana by inducing degradation of A- and E-class MTFs. However, it is still unknown whether phyllogen can induce phyllody in plants other than A. thaliana, although phytoplasma-associated phyllody symptoms are observed in a broad range of angiosperms. In this study, phyllogen was shown to cause phyllody phenotypes in several eudicot species belonging to three different families. Moreover, phyllogen can interact with MTFs of not only angiosperm species including eudicots and monocots but also gymnosperms and a fern, and induce their degradation. These results suggest that phyllogen induces phyllody in angiosperms and inhibits MTF function in diverse plant species.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The MADS-box transcription factor AGAMOUS (AG) is an important regulator of stamen and fruit identity as well as floral meristem determinacy in a number of core eudicots and monocots. However, its role outside of these groups has not been assessed explicitly. Examining its role in opium poppy, a basal eudicot, could uncover much about the evolution and development of flower and fruit development in the angiosperms. METHODS: AG orthologues were isolated by degenerate RT-PCR and the gene sequence and structure examined; gene expression was characterized using in situ hybridization and the function assessed using virus-induced gene silencing. KEY RESULTS: In opium poppy, a basal eudicot, the AGAMOUS orthologue is alternatively spliced to produce encoded products that vary at the C-terminus, termed PapsAG-1 and PapsAG-2. Both transcripts are expressed at high levels in stamens and carpels. The functional implications of this alternative transcription were examined using virus-induced gene silencing and the results show that PapsAG-1 has roles in stamen and carpel identity, reflecting those found for Arabidopsis AG. In contrast, PapsAG-2, while displaying redundancy in these functions, has a distinctive role in aspects of carpel development reflected in septae, ovule and stigma defects seen in the loss-of-function line generated. CONCLUSIONS: These results describe the first explicit functional analysis of an AG-clade gene in a basal eudicot; illustrate one of the few examples of the functional consequences of alternative splicing in transcription factors and reveal the importance of alternative transcription, as well as gene duplication, as a driving force in evolution.
Project description:SPATULA (SPT) and ALCATRAZ (ALC) are recent paralogs that belong to the large bHLH transcription factor family. Orthologs of these genes have been found in all core eudicots, whereas pre-duplication genes, named paleoSPATULA/ALCATRAZ, have been found in basal eudicots, monocots, basal angiosperms and gymnosperms. Nevertheless, functional studies have only been performed in Arabidopsis thaliana, where SPT and ALC are partially redundant in carpel and valve margin development and ALC has a unique role in the dehiscence zone. Further analyses of pre-duplication genes are necessary to assess the functional evolution of this gene lineage.We isolated additional paleoSPT/ALC genes from Aristolochia fimbriata, Bocconia frutescens, Cattleya trianae and Hypoxis decumbens from our transcriptome libraries and performed phylogenetic analyses. We identified the previously described bHLH domain in all analyzed sequences and also new conserved motifs using the MEME suite. Finally, we analyzed the expression of three paleoSPT/ALC genes (BofrSPT1/2/3) from Bocconia frutescens, a basal eudicot in the Papaveraceae. To determine the developmental stages at which these genes were expressed, pre- and post-anthesis carpels and fruits of B. frutescens were collected, sectioned, stained, and examined using light microscopy. Using in situ hybridization we detected that BofrSPT1/2/3 genes are expressed in floral buds, early sepal initiation, stamens and carpel primordia and later during fruit development in the dehiscence zone of the opercular fruit.Our expression results, in comparison with those available for core eudicots, suggest conserved roles of members of the SPT/ALC gene lineage across eudicots in the specification of carpel margins and the dehiscence zone of the mature fruits. Although there is some redundancy between ALC and SPT, these gene clades seem to have undergone some degree of sub-functionalization in the core eudicots, likely by changes in cis regulatory regions and to some extent in coding sequences, at least in Brassicaceae. Our results also indicate that in Bocconia frutescens, paleoSPT/ALC genes may play a role in early floral organ specification that was subsequently lost in core eudicot lineages.
Project description:TCP ECE genes encode transcription factors which have received much attention for their repeated recruitment in the control of floral symmetry in core eudicots, and more recently in monocots. Major duplications of TCP ECE genes have been described in core eudicots, but the evolutionary history of this gene family is unknown in basal eudicots. Reconstructing the phylogeny of ECE genes in basal eudicots will help set a framework for understanding the functional evolution of these genes. TCP ECE genes were sequenced in all major lineages of basal eudicots and Gunnera which belongs to the sister clade to all other core eudicots. We show that in these lineages they have a complex evolutionary history with repeated duplications. We estimate the timing of the two major duplications already identified in the core eudicots within a timeframe before the divergence of Gunnera and after the divergence of Proteales. We also use a synteny-based approach to examine the extent to which the expansion of TCP ECE genes in diverse eudicot lineages may be due to genome-wide duplications. The three major core-eudicot specific clades share a number of collinear genes, and their common evolutionary history may have originated at the ? event. Genomic comparisons in Arabidopsis thaliana and Solanumlycopersicum highlight their separate polyploid origin, with syntenic fragments with and without TCP ECE genes showing differential gene loss and genomic rearrangements. Comparison between recently available genomes from two basal eudicots Aquilegiacoerulea and Nelumbonucifera suggests that the two TCP ECE paralogs in these species are also derived from large-scale duplications. TCP ECE loci from basal eudicots share many features with the three main core eudicot loci, and allow us to infer the makeup of the ancestral eudicot locus.
Project description:Grasses represent a major family of monocots comprising mostly cereals. When compared to their eudicot counterparts, cereals show a remarkable morphological diversity. Understanding the molecular basis of floral organ identity and inflorescence development is crucial to gain insight into the grain development for yield improvement purposes in cereals, however, the exact genetic mechanism of floral organogenesis remains elusive due to their complex inflorescence architecture. Extensive molecular analyses of Arabidopsis and other plant genera and species have established the ABCDE floral organ identity model. According to this model, hierarchical combinatorial activities of A, B, C, D, and E classes of homeotic genes regulate the identity of different floral organs with partial conservation and partial diversification between eudicots and cereals. Here, we review the developmental role of A, B, C, D, and E gene classes and explore the recent advances in understanding the floral development and subsequent organ specification in major cereals with reference to model plants. Furthermore, we discuss the evolutionary relationships among known floral organ identity genes. This comparative overview of floral developmental genes and associated regulatory factors, within and between species, will provide a thorough understanding of underlying complex genetic and molecular control of flower development and floral organ identity, which can be helpful to devise innovative strategies for grain yield improvement in cereals.
Project description:The protein encoded by the TERMINAL FLOWER1 (TFL1) gene maintains indeterminacy in inflorescence meristem to repress flowering, and has undergone multiple duplications. However, basal angiosperms have one copy of a TFL1-like gene, which clusters with eudicot TFL1/CEN paralogs. Functional conservation has been reported in the paralogs CENTRORADIALIS (CEN) in eudicots, and ROOTS CURL IN NPA (RCNs) genes in monocots. In this study, long-term functional conservation and selective constraints were found between angiosperms, while the relaxation of selective constraints led to subfunctionalisation between paralogs. Long intron lengths of magnoliid TFL1-like gene contain more conserved motifs that potentially regulate TFL1/CEN/RCNs expression. These might be relevant to the functional flexibility of the non-duplicate TFL1-like gene in the basal angiosperms in comparison with the short, lower frequency intron lengths in eudicot and monocot TFL1/CEN/RCNs paralogs. The functionally conserved duplicates of eudicots and monocots evolved according to the duplication-degeneration-complementation model, avoiding redundancy by relaxation of selective constraints on exon 1 and exon 4. These data suggest that strong purifying selection has maintained the relevant functions of TFL1/CEN/RCNs paralogs on flowering regulation throughout the evolution of angiosperms, and the shorter introns with radical amino acid changes are important for the retention of paralogous duplicates.
Project description:Plant resistance (R) gene products recognize pathogen effector molecules. Many R genes code for proteins containing nucleotide binding site (NBS) and C-terminal leucine-rich repeat (LRR) domains. NBS-LRR proteins can be divided into two groups, TIR-NBS-LRR and non-TIR-NBS-LRR, based on the structure of the N-terminal domain. Although both classes are clearly present in gymnosperms and eudicots, only non-TIR sequences have been found consistently in monocots. Since most studies in monocots have been limited to agriculturally important grasses, it is difficult to draw conclusions. The purpose of our study was to look for evidence of these sequences in additional monocot orders.Using degenerate PCR, we amplified NBS sequences from four monocot species (C. blanda, D. marginata, S. trifasciata, and Spathiphyllum sp.), a gymnosperm (C. revoluta) and a eudicot (C. canephora). We successfully amplified TIR-NBS-LRR sequences from dicot and gymnosperm DNA, but not from monocot DNA. Using databases, we obtained NBS sequences from additional monocots, magnoliids and basal angiosperms. TIR-type sequences were not present in monocot or magnoliid sequences, but were present in the basal angiosperms. Phylogenetic analysis supported a single TIR clade and multiple non-TIR clades.We were unable to find monocot TIR-NBS-LRR sequences by PCR amplification or database searches. In contrast to previous studies, our results represent five monocot orders (Poales, Zingiberales, Arecales, Asparagales, and Alismatales). Our results establish the presence of TIR-NBS-LRR sequences in basal angiosperms and suggest that although these sequences were present in early land plants, they have been reduced significantly in monocots and magnoliids.
Project description:The Crabs Claw (CRC) YABBY gene is required for regulating carpel development in angiosperms and has played an important role in nectary evolution during core eudicot speciation. The function or expression of CRC-like genes has been explored in two basal eudicots, Eschscholzia californica and Aquilegia formosa. To further investigate the function of CRC orthologous genes related to evolution of carpel and nectary development in basal eudicots, a CRC ortholog, EsCRC, was isolated and characterized from Epimedium sagittatum (Sieb. and Zucc.) Maxim. A phylogenetic analysis of EsCRC and previously identified CRC-like genes placed EsCRC within the basal eudicot lineage. Gene expression results suggest that EsCRC is involved in the development of sepals and carpels, but not nectaries. Phenotypic complementation of the Arabidopsis mutant crc-1 was achieved by constitutive expression of EsCRC. In addition, over-expression of EsCRC in Arabidopsis and tobacco gave rise to abaxially curled leaves. Transgenic results together with the gene expression analysis suggest that EsCRC may maintain a conserved function in carpel development and also play a novel role related to sepal formation. Absence of EsCRC and ElCRC expression in nectaries further indicates that nectary development in non-core eudicots is unrelated to expression of CRC-like genes.