Female Salix viminalis are more severely infected by Melampsora spp. but neither sex experiences associational effects.
ABSTRACT: Associational effects of plant genotype or species on plant biotic interactions are common, not least for disease spread, but associational effects of plant sex on interactions have largely been ignored. Sex in dioecious plants can affect biotic interactions with herbivores and pollinators; however, its effects on plant-pathogen interactions are understudied and associational effects are unknown. In a replicated field experiment, we assessed Melampsora spp. leaf rust infection in monosexual and mixed sex plots of dioecious Salix viminalis L. to determine whether plant sex has either direct or associational effects on infection severity. We found no differences in Melampsora spp. infection severity among sexual monocultures and mixtures in our field experiment. However, female plants were overall more severely infected. In addition, we surveyed previous studies of infection in S. viminalis clones and reevaluated the studies after we assigned sex to the clones. We found that females were generally more severely infected, as in our field study. Similarly, in a survey of studies on sex-biased infection in dioecious plants, we found more female-biased infections in plant-pathogen pairs. We conclude that there was no evidence for associational plant sex effects of neighboring conspecifics for either females or males on infection severity. Instead, plant sex effects on infection act at an individual plant level. Our findings also suggest that female plants may in general be more severely affected by fungal pathogens than males.
Project description:The relative rate of evolution for sex-biased genes has often been used as a measure of the strength of sex-specific selection. In contrast to studies in a wide variety of animals, far less is known about the molecular evolution of sex-biased genes in plants, particularly in dioecious angiosperms. Here, we investigate the gene expression patterns and evolution of sex-biased genes in the dioecious plant Salix viminalis. We observe lower rates of sequence evolution for male-biased genes expressed in the reproductive tissue compared to unbiased and female-biased genes. These results could be partially explained by the lower codon usage bias for male-biased genes leading to elevated rates of synonymous substitutions compared to unbiased genes. However, the stronger haploid selection in the reproductive tissue of plants, together with pollen competition, would also lead to higher levels of purifying selection acting to remove deleterious variation. Future work should focus on the differential evolution of haploid- and diploid-specific genes to understand the selective dynamics acting on these loci.
Project description:Dioecy distributed in 157 flowering plant families and 959 flowering plant genera. Morphological and physiological differences between male and female plants have been studied extensively, but studies of sex-specific genetic diversity are relatively scarce in dioecious plants. In this study, 20 SSR loci were employed to examine the genetic variance of male subpopulations and female subpopulations in Salix viminalis. The results showed that all of the markers were polymorphic (Na = 14.15, He = 0.7566) and workable to reveal the genetic diversity of S. viminalis. No statistically significant difference was detected between male and female subpopulations, but the average genetic diversity of male subpopulations (Na = 7.12, He = 0.7071) and female subpopulations (Na = 7.31, He = 0.7226) were high. Under unfavorable environments (West Liao basin), the genetic diversity between male and female subpopulations was still not significantly different, but the genetic diversity of sexual subpopulations were lower. The differentiation of the ten subpopulations in S. viminalis was moderate (FST = 0.0858), which was conformed by AMOVA that most of genetic variance (94%) existed within subpopulations. Pairwise FST indicated no differentiation between sexual subpopulations, which was accompanied by high long-term migrate between them (M = 0.73~1.26). However, little recent migration was found between sexual subpopulations. Therefore, artificial crossing or/and transplantation by cutting propagation should be carried out so as to increase the migration during the process of ex situ conservation.
Project description:Most eukaryotes reproduce sexually and a wealth of different sex determination mechanisms have evolved in this lineage. Dioecy or separate sexes are rare among flowering plants but have repeatedly evolved from hermaphroditic ancestors possibly involving male or female sterility mutations. Willows (Salix spp.) and poplars (Populus spp.) are predominantly dioecious and are members of the Salicaceae family. All studied poplars have sex determination loci on chromosome XIX, however, the position differs among species and both male and female heterogametic system exists. In contrast to the situation in poplars, knowledge of sex determination mechanisms in willows is sparse. In the present study, we have for the first time positioned the sex determination locus on chromosome XV in S. viminalis using quantitative trait locus mapping. All female offspring carried a maternally inherited haplotype, suggesting a system of female heterogamety or ZW. We used a comparative mapping approach and compared the positions of the markers between the S. viminalis linkage map and the physical maps of S. purpurea, S. suchowensis and P. trichocarpa. As we found no evidence for chromosomal rearrangements between chromosome XV and XIX between S. viminalis and P. trichocarpa, it shows that the sex determination loci in the willow and the poplar most likely do not share a common origin and has thus evolved separately. This demonstrates that sex determination mechanisms in the Salicaceae family have a high turnover rate and as such it is excellent for studies of evolutionary processes involved in sex chromosome turnover.
Project description:One reason for studying sex chromosomes of flowering plants is that they have often evolved separate sexes recently, and the genomes of dioecious species may not yet have evolved adaptations to their changes from the ancestral state. An unstudied question concerns the relative importance of such adaptation, versus the effects of the mutations that led to separate sexes in the first place. Theoretical models for such an evolutionary change make the prediction that the mutations that created males must have sexually antagonistic effects, not only abolishing female functions, but also increasing male functions relative to the ancestral functional hermaphrodites. It is important to test this critical assumption. Moreover, the involvement of sexual antagonism also implies that plant sex-determining genes may directly cause some of the sexual dimorphisms observed in dioecious plants. Sex-determining genes are starting to be uncovered in plants, including species in the genera Diospyros and Actinidia (families Ebenaceae and Actinidiaceae, respectively). Here, we describe transgenic experiments in which the effects of the very different male-determining genes of these two dioecious species were studied in a non-dioecious plant, Nicotiana tabacum. The results indeed support the critical assumption outlined above.
Project description:Dioecious plants usually harbor 'young' sex chromosomes, providing an opportunity to study the early stages of sex chromosome evolution. Transposable elements (TEs) are mobile DNA elements frequently found in plants and are suggested to play important roles in plant sex chromosome evolution. The genomes of several dioecious plants have been sequenced, offering an opportunity to annotate and mine the TE data. However, comprehensive and unified annotation of TEs in these dioecious plants is still lacking. In this study, we constructed a dioecious plant transposable element database (DPTEdb). DPTEdb is a specific, comprehensive and unified relational database and web interface. We used a combination of de novo, structure-based and homology-based approaches to identify TEs from the genome assemblies of previously published data, as well as our own. The database currently integrates eight dioecious plant species and a total of 31 340 TEs along with classification information. DPTEdb provides user-friendly web interfaces to browse, search and download the TE sequences in the database. Users can also use tools, including BLAST, GetORF, HMMER, Cut sequence and JBrowse, to analyze TE data. Given the role of TEs in plant sex chromosome evolution, the database will contribute to the investigation of TEs in structural, functional and evolutionary dynamics of the genome of dioecious plants. In addition, the database will supplement the research of sex diversification and sex chromosome evolution of dioecious plants.Database URL: http://genedenovoweb.ticp.net:81/DPTEdb/index.php.
Project description:An earlier identified major quantitative trait locus for resistance towards the willow leaf rust fungus Melampsora larici-epitea in a Salix viminalis x (S. viminalis × S. schwerinii) population was used to identify potential resistance genes to the rust pathogen. Screening a genomic bacterial artificial chromosome library with markers from the peak position of the QTL region revealed one gene with TIR-NBS-LRR (Toll Interleukin1 Receptor-Nucleotide Binding Site-Leucine-Rich Repeat) domain structure indicative of a resistance gene. The resistance gene analog was denoted RGA1 and further analysis revealed a number of non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms in the LRR domain between the resistant and susceptible Salix genotypes. Gene expression levels under controlled conditions showed a significantly lower constitutive expression of RGA1 in the susceptible genotype. In addition, the susceptible genotype showed a significantly reduced expression level of the RGA1 gene at 24 hours post inoculation with M. larici-epitea. This indicates that the pathogen may actively suppress RGA1 gene expression allowing a compatible plant-pathogen interaction and causing infection.
Project description:The reproductive capacities of dioecious plant species may be limited by severe pollen limitation and narrow seed shadows for the two reasons. First, they are unable to self-pollinate, and seed production occurs only with pollinator movement from males to females. Second, only 50% of the individuals in populations contribute to seed production. Despite these handicaps, dioecious plants maintain their populations in plant communities with cooccurring cosexual plants, and no substantial difference in population growth rates has been found between dioecious and cosexual plants. Hence, dioecious plants are thought to mitigate these disadvantages by adopting ecological traits, such as insect pollination, animal-dispersed fleshy fruits, and precocious flowering. We studied the relationship between flowering and plant size in 30 woody species with different sex expressions, leaf habits, fruit types, and maximum plant sizes. The study site was located in an evergreen broad-leaved forest on the island of Honshu, Japan. A phylogenetic linear regression model showed that dioecious species tended to mature at smaller sizes than did cosexual taxa. At the population level, given equal plant densities and reproductive efforts, the precocity of dioecious plants could serve as one of the factors that mitigate the limitations of pollen and seed-shadow handicaps by increasing the density of reproductive individuals in the population. At the individual level, smaller size of onset of flowering may play a role in enhancing reproductive success over a lifetime by increasing reproductive opportunities. We discussed the possible effect of the relationship between precocity and some ecological traits of dioecious plants, such as small flowers pollinated by unspecialized insects, fleshy fruit dispersed by animals, and their preferential occurrence in the tropics and in island habitats. The universality of precocity among dioecious plants should be investigated in diverse plant communities. Such studies will increase our understanding of the evolution of plant breeding systems.
Project description:A number of dioecious species are grown across India and some of those plants play a crucial role in the agro-based economy of the country. The diagnosis of sex is very difficult in the dioecious plant prior flowering wherein sex identification at the seedling stage is of great importance to breeders as well as farmers for crop improvement or production purpose. A comprehensive approach of sex determination comprising morphological, biochemical, cytological and molecular attributes is a must required for gender differentiation in dioecious plant species. In the present review, we highlighted the economical, medicinal as well as industrial importance of most of the dioecious species extensively grown in Indian subcontinent. In addition to that, the cytogenetic, genetic as well as molecular information in connection to their sex determination were critically discussed in this review.
Project description:The evolution of separate sexes may involve changed expression of many genes, as each sex adapts to its new state. Evidence is accumulating for sex differences in expression even in organisms that have recently evolved separate sexes from hermaphrodite or monoecious (cosexual) ancestors, such as some dioecious flowering plants. We describe evidence that a dioecious plant species with recently evolved dioecy, Silene latifolia, has undergone adaptive changes that improve functioning in females, in addition to changes that are probably pleiotropic effects of male sterility. The results suggest pervasive adaptations as soon as males and females evolve from their cosexual ancestor.
Project description:Associational effects, that is, the influence of neighboring plants on herbivory suffered by a plant, are an outcome of forage selection. Although forage selection is a hierarchical process, few studies have investigated associational effects at multiple spatial scales. Because the nutritional quality of plants can be spatially structured, it might differently influence associational effects across multiple scales. Our objective was to determine the radius of influence of neighbor density and nutritional quality on balsam fir (Abies balsamea) herbivory by white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in winter. We quantified browsing rates on fir and the density and quality of neighboring trees in a series of 10-year-old cutovers on Anticosti Island (Canada). We used cross-correlations to investigate relationships between browsing rates and the density and nutritional quality of neighboring trees at distances up to 1,000 m. Balsam fir and white spruce (Picea glauca) fiber content and dry matter in vitro true digestibility were correlated with fir browsing rate at the finest extra-patch scale (across distance of up to 50 m) and between cutover areas (300-400 m). These correlations suggest associational effects, that is, low nutritional quality of neighbors reduces the likelihood of fir herbivory (associational defense). Our results may indicate associational effects mediated by intraspecific variation in plant quality and suggest that these effects could occur at scales from tens to hundreds of meters. Understanding associational effects could inform strategies for restoration or conservation; for example, planting of fir among existing natural regeneration could be concentrated in areas of low nutritional quality.