Functional analyses of genetic pathways controlling petal specification in poppy.
ABSTRACT MADS-box genes are crucial regulators of floral development, yet how their functions have evolved to control different aspects of floral patterning is unclear. To understand the extent to which MADS-box gene functions are conserved or have diversified in different angiosperm lineages, we have exploited the capability for functional analyses in a new model system, Papaver somniferum (opium poppy). P. somniferum is a member of the order Ranunculales, and so represents a clade that is evolutionarily distant from those containing traditional model systems such as Arabidopsis, Petunia, maize or rice. We have identified and characterized the roles of several candidate MADS-box genes in petal specification in poppy. In Arabidopsis, the APETALA3 (AP3) MADS-box gene is required for both petal and stamen identity specification. By contrast, we show that the AP3 lineage has undergone gene duplication and subfunctionalization in poppy, with one gene copy required for petal development and the other responsible for stamen development. These differences in gene function are due to differences both in expression patterns and co-factor interactions. Furthermore, the genetic hierarchy controlling petal development in poppy has diverged as compared with that of Arabidopsis. As these are the first functional analyses of AP3 genes in this evolutionarily divergent clade, our results provide new information on the similarities and differences in petal developmental programs across angiosperms. Based on these observations, we discuss a model for how the petal developmental program has evolved.
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ABSTRACT: Flowering time is strictly controlled by a combination of internal and external signals that match seed set with favorable environmental conditions. In the model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana (Brassicaceae), many of the genes underlying development and evolution of flowering have been discovered. However, much remains unknown about how conserved the flowering gene networks are in plants with different growth habits, gene duplication histories, and distributions. Here we functionally characterize three homologs of the flowering gene SUPPRESSOR OF OVEREXPRESSION OF CONSTANS 1 (SOC1) in the short-lived perennial Petunia hybrida (petunia, Solanaceae). Similar to A. thaliana soc1 mutants, co-silencing of duplicated petunia SOC1-like genes results in late flowering. This phenotype is most severe when all three SOC1-like genes are silenced. Furthermore, expression levels of the SOC1-like genes UNSHAVEN (UNS) and FLORAL BINDING PROTEIN 21 (FBP21), but not FBP28, are positively correlated with developmental age. In contrast to A. thaliana, petunia SOC1-like gene expression did not increase with longer photoperiods, and FBP28 transcripts were actually more abundant under short days. Despite evidence of functional redundancy, differential spatio-temporal expression data suggest that SOC1-like genes might fine-tune petunia flowering in response to photoperiod and developmental stage. This likely resulted from modification of SOC1-like gene regulatory elements following recent duplication, and is a possible mechanism to ensure flowering under both inductive and non-inductive photoperiods.PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(5):e96108. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Fruits come in an impressive array of shapes, sizes, and consistencies, and also display a huge diversity in biochemical/metabolite profiles, wherein lies their value as rich sources of food, nutrition, and pharmaceuticals. This is in addition to their fundamental function in supporting and dispersing the developing and mature seeds for the next generation. Understanding developmental processes such as fruit development and ripening, particularly at the genetic level, was once largely restricted to model and crop systems for practical and commercial reasons, but with the expansion of developmental genetic and evo-devo tools/analyses we can now investigate and compare aspects of fruit development in species spanning the angiosperms. We can superimpose recent genetic discoveries onto the detailed characterization of fruit development and ripening conducted with primary considerations such as yield and harvesting efficiency in mind, as well as on the detailed description of taxonomically relevant characters. Based on our own experience we focus on two very morphologically distinct and evolutionary distant fruits: the capsule of opium poppy, and the grain or caryopsis of cereals. Both are of massive economic value, but because of very different constituents; alkaloids of varied pharmaceutical value derived from secondary metabolism in opium poppy capsules, and calorific energy fuel derived from primary metabolism in cereal grains. Through comparative analyses in these and other fruit types, interesting patterns of regulatory gene function diversification and conservation are beginning to emerge.Journal of Experimental Botany 04/2014; · 5.24 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The involvement of PISTILLATA (PI) and APETALA (AP) transcription factors in the development of floral organs has previously been elucidated but little is known about their upstream regulation. In this investigation, two novel mutants generated in Papaver somniferum were analyzed - one with partially petaloid sepals and another having sepaloid petals. Progeny from reciprocal crosses of respective mutant parent genotypes showed a good fit to the monogenic Mendelian inheritance model, indicating that the mutant traits are likely controlled by the single, recessive nuclear genes named "Pps-1" and "OM" in the partially petaloid sepal and sepaloid petal phenotypes, respectively. Both paralogs of PISTILLATA (PapsPI-1 and PapsPI-3) were obtained from the sepals and petals of P. somniferum. Ectopic expression of PapsPI-1 in tobacco resulted in a partially petaloid sepal phenotype at a low frequency. Upregulation of PapsPI-1 and PapsAP3-1 in the petal and the petal part of partially petaloid sepal mutant and down-regulation of the same in sepaloid petal mutant indicates a differential pattern of regulation for flowering-related genes in various whorls. Similarly, it was found that the recessive mutation OM in sepaloid petal mutant downregulates PapsPI-1 and PapsAP3-1 transcripts. The recessive nature of the mutations was confirmed by the segregation ratios obtained in this analysis.PLoS ONE 06/2014; 9(6):e101272. · 3.53 Impact Factor