Project description:The association of species of yucca and their pollinating moths is considered one of the two classic cases of obligate mutualism between floral hosts and their pollinators. The system involves the active collection of pollen by females of two prodoxid moth genera and the subsequent purposeful placement of the pollen on conspecific stigmas of species of Yucca. Yuccas essentially depend on the moths for pollination and the moths require Yucca ovaries for oviposition. Because of the specificity involved, it has been assumed that the association arose once, although it has been suggested that within the prodoxid moths as a whole, pollinators have arisen from seed predators more than once. We show, by using phylogenies generated from three molecular data sets, that the supposed restriction of the yucca moths and their allies to the Agavaceae is an artifact caused by an incorrect circumscription of this family. In addition we provide evidence that Yucca is not monophyletic, leading to the conclusion that the modern Yucca-yucca moth relationship developed independently more than once by colonization of a new host.
Project description:Hybridization in plants results in phenotypic and genotypic perturbations that can have dramatic effects on hybrid physiology, ecology, and overall fitness. Hybridization can also perturb epigenetic control of transposable elements, resulting in their proliferation. Understanding the mechanisms that maintain genomic integrity after hybridization is often confounded by changes in ploidy that occur in hybrid plant species. Homoploid hybrid species, which have no change in chromosome number relative to their parents, offer an opportunity to study the genomic consequences of hybridization in the absence of change in ploidy. <i>Yucca gloriosa</i> (Asparagaceae) is a young homoploid hybrid species, resulting from a cross between <i>Yucca aloifolia</i> and <i>Yucca filamentosa.</i> Previous analyses of ?11 kb of the chloroplast genome and nuclear-encoded microsatellites implicated a single <i>Y. aloifolia</i> genotype as the maternal parent of <i>Y. gloriosa.</i> Using whole genome resequencing, we assembled chloroplast genomes from 41 accessions of all three species to re-assess the hybrid origins of <i>Y. gloriosa</i>. We further used re-sequencing data to annotate transposon abundance in the three species and mRNA-seq to analyze transcription of transposons. The chloroplast phylogeny and haplotype analysis suggest multiple hybridization events contributing to the origin of <i>Y. gloriosa</i>, with both parental species acting as the maternal donor. Transposon abundance at the superfamily level was significantly different between the three species; the hybrid was frequently intermediate to the parental species in TE superfamily abundance or appeared more similar to one or the other parent. In only one case-<i>Copia</i> LTR transposons-did <i>Y. gloriosa</i> have a significantly higher abundance relative to either parent. Expression patterns across the three species showed little increased transcriptional activity of transposons, suggesting that either no transposon release occurred in <i>Y. gloriosa</i> upon hybridization, or that any transposons that were activated via hybridization were rapidly silenced. The identification and quantification of transposon families paired with expression evidence paves the way for additional work seeking to link epigenetics with the important trait variation seen in this homoploid hybrid system.
Project description:While the majority of plants use the typical C3 carbon metabolic pathway, ~6% of angiosperms have adapted to carbon limitation as a result of water stress by employing a modified form of photosynthesis known as Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM). CAM plants concentrate carbon in the cells by temporally separating atmospheric carbon acquisition from fixation into carbohydrates. CAM has been studied for decades, but the evolutionary progression from C3 to CAM remains obscure. In order to better understand the morphological and physiological characteristics associated with CAM photosynthesis, phenotypic variation was assessed in Yucca aloifolia, a CAM species, Yucca filamentosa, a C3 species, and Yucca gloriosa, a hybrid species derived from these two yuccas exhibiting intermediate C3-CAM characteristics. Gas exchange, titratable leaf acidity, and leaf anatomical traits of all three species were assayed in a common garden under well-watered and drought-stressed conditions. Yucca gloriosa showed intermediate phenotypes for nearly all traits measured, including the ability to acquire carbon at night. Using the variation found among individuals of all three species, correlations between traits were assessed to better understand how leaf anatomy and CAM physiology are related. Yucca gloriosa may be constrained by a number of traits which prevent it from using CAM to as high a degree as Y. aloifolia. The intermediate nature of Y. gloriosa makes it a promising system in which to study the evolution of CAM.
Project description:YUCCA (YUCCA flavin-dependent monooxygenase) is one of the two enzymes of the main auxin biosynthesis pathway (tryptophan aminotransferase enzyme (TAA)/YUCCA) in land plants. The evolutionary origin of the YUCCA family is currently controversial: YUCCAs are assumed to have emerged via a horizontal gene transfer (HGT) from bacteria to the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of land plants or to have inherited it from their ancestor, the charophyte algae. To refine YUCCA origin, we performed a phylogenetic analysis of the class B flavoprotein monooxygenases and comparative analysis of the sequences belonging to different families of this protein class. We distinguished a new protein family, named type IIb flavin-containing monooxygenases (FMOs), which comprises homologs of YUCCA from Rhodophyta, Chlorophyta, and Charophyta, land plant proteins, and FMO-E, -F, and -G of the bacterium Rhodococcus jostii RHA1. The type IIb FMOs differ considerably in the sites and domain composition from the other families of class B flavoprotein monooxygenases, YUCCAs included. The phylogenetic analysis also demonstrated that the type IIb FMO clade is not a sibling clade of YUCCAs. We have also identified the bacterial protein group named YUC-like FMOs as the closest to YUCCA homologs. Our results support the hypothesis of the emergence of YUCCA via HGT from bacteria to MRCA of land plants.
Project description:The obligate mutualism between yuccas and yucca moths is a major model system for the study of coevolving species interactions. Exploration of the processes that have generated current diversity and associations within this mutualism requires robust phylogenies and timelines for both moths and yuccas. Here we establish a molecular clock for the moths based on mtDNA and use it to estimate the time of major life history events within the yucca moths. Colonization of yuccas had occurred by 41.5 +/- 9.8 million years ago (Mya), with rapid life history diversification and the emergence of pollinators within 0-6 My after yucca colonization. A subsequent burst of diversification 3.2 +/- 1.8 Mya coincided with evolution of arid habitats in western North America. Derived nonpollinating cheater yucca moths evolved 1.26 +/- 0.96 Mya. The estimated age of the moths far predates the host fossil record, but is consistent with suggested host age based on paleobotanical, climatological, biogeographical, and geological data, and a tentative estimation from an rbcL-based molecular clock for yuccas. The moth data are used to establish three alternative scenarios of how the moths and plants have coevolved. They yield specific predictions that can be tested once a robust plant phylogeny becomes available.
Project description:Auxin is one of the most critical hormones in plants. YUCCA (Tryptophan aminotransferase of Arabidopsis (TAA)/YUCCA) enzymes catalyze the key rate-limiting step of the tryptophan-dependent auxin biosynthesis pathway, from IPA (Indole-3-pyruvateacid) to IAA (Indole-3-acetic acid). Here, 13 YUCCA family genes were identified from Isatis indigotica, which were divided into four categories, distributing randomly on chromosomes (2n = 14). The typical and conservative motifs, including the flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD)-binding motif and flavin-containing monooxygenases (FMO)-identifying sequence, existed in the gene structures. IiYUCCA genes were expressed differently in different organs (roots, stems, leaves, buds, flowers, and siliques) and developmental periods (7, 21, 60, and 150 days after germination). Taking IiYUCCA6-1 as an example, the YUCCA genes functions were discussed. The results showed that IiYUCCA6-1 was sensitive to PEG (polyethylene glycol), cold, wounding, and NaCl treatments. The over-expressed tobacco plants exhibited high auxin performances, and some early auxin response genes (NbIAA8, NbIAA16, NbGH3.1, and NbGH3.6) were upregulated with increased IAA content. In the dark, the contents of total chlorophyll and hydrogen peroxide in the transgenic lines were significantly lower than in the control group, with NbSAG12 downregulated and some delayed leaf senescence characteristics, which delayed the senescence process to a certain extent. The findings provide comprehensive insight into the phylogenetic relationships, chromosomal distributions, and expression patterns and functions of the YUCCA gene family in I. indigotica.
Project description:It is well known that spirostane-type saponins show various bioactivities. In our on-going program of screening these kinds of constituents from natural products, Yucca schidigera was found to be rich in them, and nine new spirostanol saponins, Yucca spirostanosides A₁ (1), A₂ (2), B₁ (3), B₂ (4), B₃ (5), C₁ (6), C₂ (7), C₃ (8), and D₁ (9), together with five known ones (10-14) were isolated from the plant. Their structures were elucidated by extensive spectroscopic methods, including 1D and 2D NMR and MS spectra, and comparing with published data.
Project description:Few studies thoroughly investigated different Yucca species introduced to Egypt. As a part of our ongoing investigation of the Yucca species; Yucca aloifolia and its variety Yucca aloifolia variegata, Yucca filamentosa, and Yucca elephantipes (Asparagaceae) were extensively subjected to phytochemical and antimicrobial investigation. Yucca species cultivated in Egypt showed no antimicrobial effect. GC/MS of the lipoid contents of Y. aloifolia variegata was carried out. Twenty-six fatty acids were identified. Saturated fatty acids established almost twice the unsaturated ones and constituted 64.64% of which palmitic acid and palmitoleic acid signifying 58.28% and 30.98%, respectively. Hydrocarbons were 21 constituting 39.64% of the unsaponifiable fraction. Only three sterols 42.36% were detected, major was ?-sitosterol. LC-MS/MS comparison of the 4 plant extracts imply that Y.aloifolia variegata L extract was the richest, which was apparent through its superior biological activity. LC-MS/MS analysis of the total alcoholic extract (Alc) of the leaves of Y.aloifolia variegata L. was performed using MS-techniques at different voltages; equal to 35 and 135 eV. Negative and positive-ion modes analyses at low fragmentation energy allowed the tentative identification of 41 and 34 compounds, respectively. The LC-ESI-MS/MS analysis in the positive mode proved to be better in the identification of saponins.
Project description:The origins of obligate pollination mutualisms, such as the classic yucca-yucca moth association, appear to require extensive trait evolution and specialization. To understand the extent to which traits truly evolved as part of establishing the mutualistic relationship, rather than being preadaptations, we used an expanded phylogenetic estimate with improved sampling of deeply-diverged groups to perform the first formal reconstruction of trait evolution in pollinating yucca moths and their non-pollinating relatives. Our analysis demonstrates that key life history traits of yucca moths, including larval feeding in the floral ovary and the associated specialized cutting ovipositor, as well as colonization of woody monocots in xeric habitats, may have been established before the obligate mutualism with yuccas. Given these preexisting traits, novel traits in the mutualist moths are limited to the active pollination behaviors and the tentacular appendages that facilitate pollen collection and deposition. These results suggest that a highly specialized obligate mutualism was built on the foundation of preexisting interactions between early Prodoxidae and their host plants, and arose with minimal trait evolution.
Project description:The yucca-yucca moth interaction is one of the most well-known and remarkable obligate pollination mutualisms, and is an important study system for understanding coevolution. Previous research suggests that specialist pollinators can promote rapid diversification in plants, and theoretical work has predicted that obligate pollination mutualism promotes cospeciation between plants and their pollinators, resulting in contemporaneous, parallel diversification. However, a lack of information about the age of Yucca has impeded efforts to test these hypotheses. We used analyses of 4322 AFLP markers and cpDNA sequence data representing six non-protein-coding regions (trnT-trnL, trnL, trnL intron, trnL-trnF, rps16 and clpP intron 2) from all 34 species to recover a consensus organismal phylogeny, and used penalized likelihood to estimate divergence times and speciation rates in Yucca. The results indicate that the pollination mutualism did not accelerate diversification, as Yucca diversity (34 species) is not significantly greater than that of its non-moth-pollinated sister group, Agave sensu latissimus (240 species). The new phylogenetic estimates also corroborate the suggestion that the plant-moth pollination mutualism has at least two origins within the Agavaceae. Finally, age estimates show significant discord between the age of Yucca (ca 6-10Myr) and the current best estimates for the age of their pollinators (32-40Myr).