APETALA2 negatively regulates multiple floral organ identity genes in Arabidopsis by recruiting the co-repressor TOPLESS and the histone deacetylase HDA19.
ABSTRACT: The development and coordination of complex tissues in eukaryotes requires precise spatial control of fate-specifying genes. Although investigations of such control have traditionally focused on mechanisms of transcriptional activation, transcriptional repression has emerged as being equally important in the establishment of gene expression territories. In the angiosperm flower, specification of lateral organ fate relies on the spatial regulation of the ABC floral organ identity genes. Our understanding of how the boundaries of these expression domains are controlled is not complete. Here, we report that the A-class organ identity gene APETALA2 (AP2), which is known to repress the C-class gene AGAMOUS, also regulates the expression borders of the B-class genes APETALA3 and PISTILLATA, and the E-class gene SEPALLATA3. We show that AP2 represses its target genes by physically recruiting the co-repressor TOPLESS and the histone deacetylase HDA19. These results demonstrate that AP2 plays a broad role in flower development by controlling the expression domains of numerous floral organ identity genes.
Project description:The shoot apical meristem (SAM) undergoes developmental transitions that include a shift from vegetative to reproductive growth. This transition is triggered by flowering time genes, which up-regulate floral meristem (FM) identity genes that, in turn, control flower development by activating floral organ identity genes. This cascade of transcriptional activation is refined by repression mechanisms that temporally and spatially restrict gene expression to ensure proper development. Here, we demonstrate that HISTONE DEACETYLASE 19 (HDA19) maintains the identity of the reproductive SAM, or inflorescence meristem (IM), late in Arabidopsis thaliana development. At late stages of growth, hda19 IMs display a striking patterning defect characterized by ectopic expression of floral organ identity genes and the replacement of flowers with individual stamenoid organs. We further show that the flowering time gene FD has a specific function in this regulatory process, as fd hastens the emergence of these patterning defects in hda19 growth. Our work therefore identifies a new role for FD in reproductive patterning, as FD regulates IM function together with HDA19 in an age-dependent fashion. To effect these abnormalities, hda19 and fd may accentuate the weakening of transcriptional repression that occurs naturally with reproductive meristem proliferation.
Project description:The organs of a eudicot flower are specified by four functional classes, termed class A, B, C and E, of MADS domain transcription factors. The combinatorial formation of tetrameric complexes, so called 'floral quartets', between these classes is widely believed to represent the molecular basis of floral organ identity specification. As constituents of all complexes, the class E floral homeotic proteins are thought to be of critical relevance for the formation of floral quartets. However, experimental support for tetrameric complex formation remains scarce. Here we provide physico-chemical evidence that in vitro homotetramers of the class E floral homeotic protein SEPALLATA3 from Arabidopsis thaliana bind cooperatively to two sequence elements termed 'CArG boxes' in a phase-dependent manner involving DNA looping. We further show that the N-terminal part of SEPALLATA3 lacking K3, a subdomain of the protein-protein interactions mediating K domain, and the C-terminal domain, is sufficient for protein dimerization, but not for tetramer formation and cooperative DNA binding. We hypothesize that the capacity of class E MADS domain proteins to form tetrameric complexes contributes significantly to the formation of floral quartets. Our findings further suggest that the spacing and phasing of CArG boxes are important parameters in the molecular mechanism by which floral homeotic proteins achieve target gene specificity.
Project description:The ABC model of flower development explains how three classes of homeotic genes confer identity to the four types of floral organs. In Arabidopsis thaliana, APETALA2 (AP2) and AGAMOUS (AG) represent A- and C-class genes that act in an antagonistic fashion to specify perianth and reproductive organs, respectively. An apparent paradox was the finding that AP2 mRNA is supposedly uniformly distributed throughout young floral primordia. Although miR172 has a role in preventing AP2 protein accumulation, miR172 was reported to disappear from the periphery only several days after AG activation in the center of the flower. Here, we resolve the enigmatic behavior of AP2 and its negative regulator miR172 through careful expression analyses. We find that AP2 mRNA accumulates predominantly in the outer floral whorls, as expected for an A-class homeotic gene. Its pattern overlaps only transiently with that of miR172, which we find to be restricted to the center of young floral primordia from early stages on. MiR172 also accumulates in the shoot meristem upon floral induction, compatible with its known role in regulating AP2-related genes with a role in flowering. Furthermore, we show that AP2 can cause striking organ proliferation defects that are not limited to the center of the floral meristem, where its antagonist AG is required for terminating stem cell proliferation. Moreover, AP2 never expands uniformly into the center of ag mutant flowers, while miR172 is largely unaffected by loss of AG activity. We present a model in which the decision whether stamens or petals develop is based on the balance between AP2 and AG activities, rather than the two being mutually exclusive.
Project description:Arabidopsis APETALA2 (AP2) encodes a member of the AP2/EREBP (ethylene responsive element binding protein) class of transcription factors and is involved in the specification of floral organ identity, establishment of floral meristem identity, suppression of floral meristem indeterminancy, and development of the ovule and seed coat. Here, we show that loss-of-function ap2 mutations cause an increase in seed mass relative to that of wild-type seeds. Analysis of an allelic series of ap2 mutations showed that increases in seed mass corresponded with the severity of defects in flower structure, indicating that AP2 activity directly influences seed mass. Experiments with male-sterile plants and deflowered wild-type plants showed that reduced fertility of ap2 mutant plants due to abnormal flower structure accounted for only part of the increase in seed mass caused by strong ap2 mutant alleles. Reciprocal cross experiments showed that AP2 acts maternally to control seed mass. The maternal effect of AP2 on seed mass involves the regulation of both embryo cell number and cell size. We show further that ap2 mutations cause changes in the ratio of hexose to sucrose during seed development, opening the possibility that AP2 may control seed mass through its effects on sugar metabolism. Together, these results identify a role for AP2 in controlling seed mass.
Project description:Comparative studies on the ABC model of floral development have revealed extensive conservation of B and C class genes, but have failed to identify similar conservation for A class genes. Using a reverse genetic approach, we show that the previous inability to obtain Antirrhinum mutants corresponding to the A class gene AP2 of Arabidopsis reflects greater genetic redundancy in Antirrhinum . Antirrhinum has two genes corresponding to AP2, termed LIP1 and LIP2, both of which need to be inactivated to give a mutant phenotype. Analysis of interactions between LIP and class B/C genes shows that unlike AP2 in Arabidopsis, LIP genes are not required for repression of C in outer whorls of the flower. However, like AP2, LIP genes play a role in sepal, petal and ovule development, although some of their detailed effects are different, reflecting the diverse morphologies of Antirrhinum and Arabidopsis flowers. The dual functions for which AP2 is required in Arabidopsis are therefore separate in Antirrhinum, showing that the genetic basis of some aspects of organ identity have undergone major evolutionary change.
Project description:Four classes of floral homeotic MADS domain proteins specify the identities of the four organ types in an Arabidopsis flower. While the activities of the MADS domain proteins are essentially confined to the flower or to the inflorescence, several genes, such as APETALA2, HUA1 and HUA2, also act outside the flower in addition to their organ identity functions inside the flower. We identified a new gene, HUA ENHANCER 1 (HEN1) from a sensitized genetic screen in the hua1-1 hua2-1 background that is compromised in floral homeotic C function. We showed that HEN1, like the C function gene AGAMOUS, acts to specify reproductive organ identities and to repress A function. HEN1 also shares AG's non-homeotic function in controlling floral determinacy. HEN1 may achieve these functions by regulating the expression of AG. hen1 single mutants exhibit pleiotropic phenotypes such as reduced organ size, altered rosette leaf shape and increased number of coflorescences, during most stages of development. Therefore, HEN1, like the A function gene AP2, plays multiple roles in plant development as well as acting in organ identity specification in the flower. HEN1 codes for a novel protein and is expressed throughout the plant.
Project description:The molecular mechanisms by which floral homeotic genes act as major developmental switches to specify the identity of floral organs are still largely unknown. Floral homeotic genes encode transcription factors of the MADS-box family, which are supposed to assemble in a combinatorial fashion into organ-specific multimeric protein complexes. Major mediators of protein interactions are MADS-domain proteins of the SEPALLATA subfamily, which play a crucial role in the development of all types of floral organs. In order to characterize the roles of the SEPALLATA3 transcription factor complexes at the molecular level, we analyzed genome-wide the direct targets of SEPALLATA3. We used chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by ultrahigh-throughput sequencing or hybridization to whole-genome tiling arrays to obtain genome-wide DNA-binding patterns of SEPALLATA3. The results demonstrate that SEPALLATA3 binds to thousands of sites in the genome. Most potential target sites that were strongly bound in wild-type inflorescences are also bound in the floral homeotic agamous mutant, which displays only the perianth organs, sepals, and petals. Characterization of the target genes shows that SEPALLATA3 integrates and modulates different growth-related and hormonal pathways in a combinatorial fashion with other MADS-box proteins and possibly with non-MADS transcription factors. In particular, the results suggest multiple links between SEPALLATA3 and auxin signaling pathways. Our gene expression analyses link the genomic binding site data with the phenotype of plants expressing a dominant repressor version of SEPALLATA3, suggesting that it modulates auxin response to facilitate floral organ outgrowth and morphogenesis. Furthermore, the binding of the SEPALLATA3 protein to cis-regulatory elements of other MADS-box genes and expression analyses reveal that this protein is a key component in the regulatory transcriptional network underlying the formation of floral organs.
Project description:A recessive mutation in the Arabidopsis STERILE APETALA (SAP) causes severe aberrations in inflorescence and flower and ovule development. In sap flowers, sepals are carpelloid, petals are short and narrow or absent, and anthers are degenerated. Megasporogenesis, the process of meiotic divisions preceding the female gametophyte formation, is arrested in sap ovules during or just after the first meiotic division. More severe aberrations were observed in double mutants between sap and mutant alleles of the floral homeotic gene APETALA2 (AP2) suggesting that both genes are involved in the initiation of female gametophyte development. Together with the organ identity gene AGAMOUS (AG) SAP is required for the maintenance of floral identity acting in a manner similar to APETALA1. In contrast to the outer two floral organs in sap mutant flowers, normal sepals and petals develop in ag/sap double mutants, indicating that SAP negatively regulates AG expression in the perianth whorls. This supposed cadastral function of SAP is supported by in situ hybridization experiments showing ectopic expression of AG in the sap mutant. We have cloned the SAP gene by transposon tagging and revealed that it encodes a novel protein with sequence motifs, that are also present in plant and animal transcription regulators. Consistent with the mutant phenotype, SAP is expressed in inflorescence and floral meristems, floral organ primordia, and ovules. Taken together, we propose that SAP belongs to a new class of transcription regulators essential for a number of processes in Arabidopsis flower development.
Project description:Flowers with more petals are of more ornamental value. It is well known that AGAMOUS (AG) is the core member of the C-class gene which plays an essential role in double flower formation and identification of stamens and carpels in Arabidopsis thaliana. We searched C-class genes in the genome of the carnation, and found two AG orthologs (DcaAGa, DcaAGb). Phylogenetic analysis showed that the two genes were closely related to the euAG subclade. Then we searched the genomes of other Caryophyllales plants (Beta vulgaris, Spinacia oleracea, Chenopodium quinoa) for C-class genes, and found that their C-class genes all belonged to the euAG subclade. Semi-quantitative PCR (sq-PCR) analysis indicated that the expression of DcaAG genes in the single flower phenotype was higher than that in the double flower phenotype. Quantitative real-time RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) analysis showed that the expressions of DcaAG genes in the flower bud were significantly different from those in the root, stem, and leaf between the single and double flower phenotype carnations, and that DcaAG genes were specifically expressed in the stamen and carpel of carnation. Moreover, the expression of other floral organ identity genes (AP1 and AP2, PI and AP3, SEP1 and SEP3 corresponding to the A-, B-, and E-class of genes, respectively) showed no significant difference in all floral organs between the single and double flower phenotype carnations, suggesting that C-class (DcaAG) genes might play an important role in the double flower phenotype in carnation. Petal loss or decrease, precocious flowering, silique shortening, and seed sterility were observed in 35S::DcaAGa and 35S::DcaAGb transgenic Arabidopsis plants. All these results show that DcaAG genes might affect the petal number negatively and have a specific function in stamen and carpel development in carnation.
Project description:Floral development is one of the model systems for investigating the mechanisms underlying organogenesis in plants. Floral organ identity is controlled by the well-known ABC model, which has been generalized to many flowering plants. Here, we report a previously uncharacterized MYB-like gene, AGAMOUS-LIKE FLOWER (AGLF), involved in flower development in the model legume Medicago truncatula Loss-of-function of AGLF results in flowers with stamens and carpel transformed into extra whorls of petals and sepals. Compared with the loss-of-function mutant of the class C gene AGAMOUS (MtAG) in M. truncatula, the defects in floral organ identity are similar between aglf and mtag, but the floral indeterminacy is enhanced in the aglf mutant. Knockout of AGLF in the mutants of the class A gene MtAP1 or the class B gene MtPI leads to an addition of a loss-of-C-function phenotype, reflecting a conventional relationship of AGLF with the canonical A and B genes. Furthermore, we demonstrate that AGLF activates MtAG in transcriptional levels in control of floral organ identity. These data shed light on the conserved and diverged molecular mechanisms that control flower development and morphology among plant species.