Target genes of AGAMOUS during early flower development in Arabidopsis
ABSTRACT: Floral organs, whose identity is determined by specific combinations of homeotic genes, originate from a group of undifferentiated cells called the floral meristem. In Arabidopsis, the homeotic gene AGAMOUS (AG) terminates meristem activity and promotes development of stamens and carpels. To understand the program of gene expression activated by AG, we followed genome-wide expression during early stamen and carpel development. Keywords: Developmental time course Overall design: Described in Gomez-Mena et al, 2005, Development 132: 429-438. Briefly, synchronous development of stamens and carpels was initiated by steroid treatment of plants homozygous for the ap1-1 and cal-1 mutations and expressing a fusion between AGAMOUS and the rat glucocorticoid receptor (35S:AGGR). RNA was extracted one, three and seven days after steroid treatment; two independent steroid-treated samples and two independent untreated controls were used for each time point.
Project description:Floral organs, whose identity is determined by specific combinations of homeotic genes, originate from a group of undifferentiated cells called the floral meristem. In Arabidopsis, the homeotic gene AGAMOUS (AG) terminates meristem activity and promotes development of stamens and carpels. To understand the program of gene expression activated by AG, we followed genome-wide expression during early stamen and carpel development. Experiment Overall Design: Described in Gomez-Mena et al, 2005, Development 132: 429-438. Briefly, synchronous development of stamens and carpels was initiated by steroid treatment of plants homozygous for the ap1-1 and cal-1 mutations and expressing a fusion between AGAMOUS and the rat glucocorticoid receptor (35S:AGGR). RNA was extracted one, three and seven days after steroid treatment; two independent steroid-treated samples and two independent untreated controls were used for each time point.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>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.<h4>Results</h4>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.<h4>Conclusions</h4>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:In the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, a core eudicot, the floral homeotic C-class gene AGAMOUS (AG) has a dual role specifying reproductive organ identity and floral meristem determinacy. We conduct a functional analysis of the putative AG ortholog ThtAG1 from the ranunculid Thalictrum thalictroides, a representative of the sister lineage to all other eudicots. Down-regulation of ThtAG1 by virus-induced gene silencing resulted in homeotic conversion of stamens and carpels into sepaloid organs and loss of flower determinacy. Moreover, flowers exhibiting strong silencing of ThtAG1 phenocopied the double-flower ornamental cultivar T. thalictroides 'Double White.' Molecular analysis of 'Double White' ThtAG1 alleles revealed the insertion of a retrotransposon causing either nonsense-mediated decay of transcripts or alternative splicing that results in mutant proteins with K-domain deletions. Biochemical analysis demonstrated that the mutation abolishes protein-protein interactions with the putative E-class protein ThtSEP3. C- and E-class protein heterodimerization is predicted by the floral quartet model, but evidence for the functional importance of this interaction is scarce outside the core eudicots. Our findings therefore corroborate the importance and conservation of the interactions between C- and E-class proteins. This study provides a functional description of a full C-class mutant in a noncore ("basal") eudicot, an ornamental double flower, affecting both organ identity and meristem determinacy. Using complementary forward and reverse genetic approaches, this study demonstrates deep conservation of the dual C-class gene function and of the interactions between C- and E-class proteins predicted by the floral quartet model.
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:Double-flower phenotype is more popular and attractive in garden and ornamental plants. There is great interest in exploring the molecular mechanisms underlying the double-flower formation for further breeding and selection. Kerria japonica, a commercial ornamental shrub of the Rosaceae family, is considered an excellent system to determine the mechanisms of morphological alterations, because it naturally has a single-flower form and double-flower variant with homeotic conversion of stamens into petals and carpels into leaf-like carpels. In this study, Sf-KjAG (AGAMOUS homolog of single-flower K. japonica) and Df-KjAG (AGAMOUS homolog of double-flower K. japonica) were isolated and characterized as two AGAMOUS (AG) homologs that occur strictly in single- and double-flower K. japonica, respectively. Our sequence comparison showed that Df-KjAG is derived from ectopic splicing with the insertion of a 2411 bp transposon-like fragment, which might disrupt mRNA accumulation and protein function, into intron 1. Ectopic expression analysis in Arabidopsis revealed that Sf-KjAG is highly conserved in specifying carpel and stamen identities. However, Df-KjAG did not show any putative C-class function in floral development. Moreover, yeast-two-hybrid assays showed that Sf-KjAG can interact with KjAGL2, KjAGL9, and KjAP1, whereas Df-KjAG has lost interactions with these floral identity genes. In addition, loss-of-function of Df-KjAG affected not only its own expression, but also that of other putative floral organ identity genes such as KjAGL2, KjAGL9, KjAP1, KjAP2, KjAP3, and KjPI. In conclusion, our findings suggest that double-flower formation in K. japonica can be attributed to Df-KjAG, which appears to be a mutant produced by the insertion of a transposon-like fragment in the normal AG homolog (Sf-KjAG) of single-flower K. japonica. Highlights:Sf-KjAG and Df-KjAG are different variations only distinguished by a transposon-like fragment insertion which lead to the evolutionary transformation from single-flower to double-flowers morphogenesis in Kerria japonica.
Project description:In Arabidopsis, two floral homeotic genes APETALA2 (AP2) and AGAMOUS (AG) specify the identities of perianth and reproductive organs, respectively, in flower development. The two genes act antagonistically to restrict each other to their proper domains of action within the floral meristem. In addition to AG, which antagonizes AP2, miR172, a microRNA, serves as a negative regulator of AP2. In this study, we showed that AG and miR172 have distinct functions in flower development and that they largely act independently in the negative regulation of AP2. We uncovered functions of miR172-mediated repression of AP2 in the regulation of floral stem cells and in the delineation of the expression domain of another class of floral homeotic genes. Given the antiquity of miR172 in land plants, our findings have implications for the recruitment of a microRNA in the building of a flower in evolution.
Project description:The C function gene AGAMOUS (AG) encodes for a MADS-box transcription factor required for floral organ identity and floral meristem (FM) determinacy in angiosperms. Unlike Arabidopsis, most legume plants possess two AG homologs arose by an ancient genome duplication event. Recently, two euAGAMOUS genes, MtAGa and MtAGb, were characterized and shown to fulfill the C function activity in the model legume Medicago truncatula. Here, we reported the isolation and characterization of a new mtaga allele by screening the Medicago Tnt1 insertion mutant collection. We found that MtAGa was not only required for controlling the stamen and carpel identity but also affected pod and seed development. Genetic analysis indicated that MtAGa and MtAGb redundantly control Medicago floral organ identity, but have minimal distinct functions in regulating stamen and carpel development in a dose-dependent manner. Interestingly, the stamens and carpels are mostly converted to numerous vexillum-like petals in the double mutant of mtaga mtagb, which is distinguished from Arabidopsis ag. Further qRT-PCR analysis in different mtag mutants revealed that MtAGa and MtAGb can repress the expression of putative A and B function genes as well as MtWUS, but promote putative D function genes expression in M. truncatula. In addition, we found that the abnormal dorsal petal phenotype observed in the mtaga mtagb double mutant is associated with the upregulation of CYCLOIDEA (CYC)-like TCP genes. Taken together, our data suggest that the redundant MtAGa and MtAGb genes of M. truncatula employ a conserved mechanism of action similar to Arabidopsis in determining floral organ identity and FM determinacy but may have evolved distinct function in regulating floral symmetry by coordinating with specific floral dorsoventral identity factors.
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:Sweetgums (Liquidambar), members of the family Altingiaceae (Altingiales), have inflorescences and floral organs that are distinctive in structure compared with other angiosperms in which the roles of floral homeotic genes have been studied. To begin to understand the role of AGAMOUS (AG)-a floral homeotic gene that has a major role in stamen and carpel development-in development of the monosexual flowers of sweetgum, we used RNAi to reduce the expression of two members of the AG subfamily. Because AG suppression should induce floral sterility, RNAi might also provide a tool to mitigate the risks of invasiveness-and to reduce the production of its nuisance fruits or allergenic pollen-when sweetgum is used as an exotic shade or forest tree. We tested 33 independent transgenic events and non-transgenic controls during 10 years in the field. The RNAi-AG sweetgum trees maintained normal growth, phenology, and vivid fall coloration during the 10 years of study, but 8 insertion events had highly modified inflorescence and floral morphology. The modified flowers had anthers and carpels that were converted to flat leaf-like structures lacking pollen grains and ovules, respectively. The female inflorescences developed into dry papery structures that failed to produce seeds. These infructescences were smaller than control infructescences, and lost a greater percentage of biomass in a controlled decay assay. RNAi against AG genes was highly effective at impairing fertility and modifying reproductive development without significant vegetative effects in sweetgum and gave phenotypes distinct from, but similar to, that of AG loss of function in other angiosperms.
Project description:Gibberellins (GAs) are a class of plant hormones involved in the regulation of flower development in Arabidopsis. The GA-deficient ga1-3 mutant shows retarded growth of all floral organs, especially abortive stamen development that results in complete male sterility. Until now, it has not been clear how GA regulates the late-stage development of floral organs after the establishment of their identities within floral meristems. Various combinations of null mutations of DELLA proteins can gradually rescue floral defects in ga1-3. In particular, the synergistic effect of rga-t2 and rgl2-1 can substantially restore flower development in ga1-3. We find that the transcript levels of floral homeotic genes APETALA3 (AP3), PISTILLATA (PI), and AGAMOUS (AG) are immediately upregulated in young flowers of ga1-3 upon GA treatment. Using a steroid-inducible activation of RGA, we further demonstrated that these floral homeotic genes are transcriptionally repressed by RGA activity in young flowers whereas the expression of LEAFY (LFY) and APETALA1 (AP1) is not substantially affected. In addition, we observed the partial rescue of floral defects in ga1-3 by overexpression of AG. Our results indicate that GA promotes the expression of floral homeotic genes by antagonizing the effects of DELLA proteins, thereby allowing continued flower development.