[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Coevolutionary interactions are thought to have spurred the evolution of key innovations and driven the diversification of much of life on Earth. However, the genetic and evolutionary basis of the innovations that facilitate such interactions remains poorly understood. We examined the coevolutionary interactions between plants (Brassicales) and butterflies (Pieridae), and uncovered evidence for an escalating evolutionary arms-race. Although gradual changes in trait complexity appear to have been facilitated by allelic turnover, key innovations are associated with gene and genome duplications. Furthermore, we show that the origins of both chemical defenses and of molecular counter adaptations were associated with shifts in diversification rates during the arms-race. These findings provide an important connection between the origins of biodiversity, coevolution, and the role of gene and genome duplications as a substrate for novel traits.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/2015; 112(27). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1503926112 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Strigolactones are plant hormones with multiple functions, including regulating various aspects of plant architecture such as shoot branching, facilitating the colonization of plant roots by arbuscu-lar mycorrhizal fungi, and acting as seed germination stimulants for certain parasitic plants of the family Orobanchaceae. The obligate parasitic species Phelipanche aegyptiaca and Striga hermon-thica require strigolactones for germination, while the facultative parasite Triphysaria versicolor does not. It has been hypothesized that P. aegyptiaca and S. hermonthica would have undergone evolutionary loss of strigolactone biosynthesis as a part of their mechanism to enable specific detection of exogenous strigolactones. We analyzed the transcriptomes of P. aegyptiaca, S. hermon-thica and T. versicolor and identified genes known to act in strigolactone synthesis (D27, CCD7, CCD8, and MAX1), perception (MAX2 and D14) and transport (PDR12). These genes were then analyzed to assess likelihood of function. Transcripts of all strigolactone-related genes were found M. Das et al. 1152 in P. aegyptiaca and S. hermonthica, and evidence points to their encoding functional proteins. Gene open reading frames were consistent with homologs from Arabidopsis and other strigolac-tone-producing plants, and all genes were expressed in parasite tissues. In general, the genes related to strigolactone synthesis and perception appeared to be evolving under codon-based selective constraints in strigolactone-dependent species. Bioassays of S. hermonthica root extracts indicated the presence of strigolactone class stimulants on germination of P. aegyptiaca seeds. Tak-en together, these results indicate that Phelipanche aegyptiaca and S. hermonthica have retained functional genes involved in strigolactone biosynthesis, suggesting that the parasites use both en-dogenous and exogenous strigolactones and have mechanisms to differentiate the two.
American Journal of Plant Sciences 04/2015; 6:1151-1166. DOI:10.4236/ajps.2015.68120
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Reconstructing the origin and evolution of land plants and their
algal relatives is a fundamental problem in plant phylogenetics, and
is essential for understanding how critical adaptations arose, including
the embryo, vascular tissue, seeds, and flowers. Despite
advances inmolecular systematics, some hypotheses of relationships
remain weakly resolved. Inferring deep phylogenies with bouts of
rapid diversification can be problematic; however, genome-scale
data should significantly increase the number of informative characters
for analyses. Recent phylogenomic reconstructions focused on
the major divergences of plants have resulted in promising but inconsistent
results. One limitation is sparse taxon sampling, likely
resulting from the difficulty and cost of data generation. To address
this limitation, transcriptome data for 92 streptophyte taxa were
generated and analyzed along with 11 published plant genome
sequences. Phylogenetic reconstructions were conducted using up
to 852 nuclear genes and 1,701,170 aligned sites. Sixty-nine analyses
were performed to test the robustness of phylogenetic inferences to
permutations of the datamatrix or to phylogeneticmethod, including
supermatrix, supertree, and coalescent-based approaches, maximumlikelihood
and Bayesian methods, partitioned and unpartitioned analyses,
and amino acid versus DNA alignments. Among other
results, we find robust support for a sister-group relationship
between land plants and one group of streptophyte green algae,
the Zygnematophyceae. Strong and robust support for a
clade comprising liverworts and mosses is inconsistent with a
widely accepted view of early land plant evolution, and suggests
that phylogenetic hypotheses used to understand the evolution of
fundamental plant traits should be reevaluated.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2014; 111(45). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1323926111 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Movement of RNAs between cells of a single plant is well documented, but cross-species RNA transfer is largely unexplored.
Cuscuta pentagona (dodder) is a parasitic plant that forms symplastic connections with its hosts and takes up host messenger RNAs (mRNAs).
We sequenced transcriptomes of Cuscuta growing on Arabidopsis and tomato hosts to characterize mRNA transfer between species and found that mRNAs move in high numbers and in a bidirectional
manner. The mobile transcripts represented thousands of different genes, and nearly half the expressed transcriptome of Arabidopsis was identified in Cuscuta. These findings demonstrate that parasitic plants can exchange large proportions of their transcriptomes with hosts, providing
potential mechanisms for RNA-based interactions between species and horizontal gene transfer.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Petunia possesses self-incompatibility, by which pistils reject self-pollen but accept non-self-pollen for fertilization. Self-/non-self-recognition between pollen and pistil is regulated by the pistil-specific S-RNase gene and by multiple pollen-specific S-locus F-box (SLF) genes. To date, 10 SLF genes have been identified by various methods, and seven have been shown to be involved in pollen specificity. For a given S-haplotype, each SLF interacts with a subset of its non-self S-RNases, and an as yet unknown number of SLFs are thought to collectively mediate ubiquitination and degradation of all non-self S-RNases to allow cross-compatible pollination. To identify a complete suite of SLF genes of P. inflata, we used a de novo RNA-seq approach to analyze the pollen transcriptomes of S2-haplotype and S3-haplotype, as well as the leaf transcriptome of the S3S3 genotype. We searched for genes that fit several criteria established from the properties of the known SLF genes and identified the same seven new SLF genes in S2-haplotype and S3-haplotype, suggesting that a total of 17 SLF genes constitute pollen specificity in each S-haplotype. This finding lays the foundation for understanding how multiple SLF genes evolved and the biochemical basis for differential interactions between SLF proteins and S-RNases.
The Plant Cell 07/2014; 26(7). DOI:10.1105/tpc.114.126920 · 9.34 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pectins are acidic sugar-containing polysaccharides that are universally conserved components of the primary cell walls of plants and modulate both tip and diffuse cell growth. However, many of their specific functions and the evolution of the genes responsible for producing and modifying them are incompletely understood. The moss Physcomitrella patens is emerging as a powerful model system for the study of plant cell walls. To identify deeply conserved pectin-related genes in Physcomitrella, we generated phylogenetic trees for 16 pectin-related gene families using sequences from ten plant genomes and analyzed the evolutionary relationships within these families.
Contrary to our initial hypothesis that a single ancestral gene was present for each pectin-related gene family in the common ancestor of land plants, five of the 16 gene families, including homogalacturonan galacturonosyltransferases, polygalacturonases, pectin methylesterases, homogalacturonan methyltransferases, and pectate lyase-like proteins, show evidence of multiple members in the early land plant that gave rise to the mosses and vascular plants. Seven of the gene families, the UDP-rhamnose synthases, UDP-glucuronic acid epimerases, homogalacturonan galacturonosyltransferase-like proteins, beta-1,4-galactan beta-1,4-galactosyltransferases, rhamnogalacturonan-II xylosyltransferases, and pectin acetylesterases appear to have had a single member in the common ancestor of land plants. We detected no Physcomitrella members in the xylogalacturonan xylosyltransferase, rhamnogalacturonan-I arabinosyltransferase, pectin methylesterase inhibitor, or polygalacturonase inhibitor protein families.
Several gene families related to the production and modification of pectins in plants appear to have multiple members that are conserved as far back as the common ancestor of mosses and vascular plants. The presence of multiple members of these families even before the divergence of other important cell wall-related genes, such as cellulose synthases, suggests a more complex role than previously suspected for pectins in the evolution of land plants. The presence of relatively small pectin-related gene families in Physcomitrella as compared to Arabidopsis makes it an attractive target for analysis of the role of pectins in cell walls. In contrast, the absence of genes in Physcomitrella for some families suggests that certain pectin modifications, such as homogalacturonan xylosylation, arose later during land plant evolution.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report the complete mitochondrial genome sequence of the flowering plant Amborella trichopoda. This enormous, 3.9-megabase genome contains six genome equivalents of foreign mitochondrial DNA, acquired from green algae,
mosses, and other angiosperms. Many of these horizontal transfers were large, including acquisition of entire mitochondrial
genomes from three green algae and one moss. We propose a fusion-compatibility model to explain these findings, with Amborella capturing whole mitochondria from diverse eukaryotes, followed by mitochondrial fusion (limited mechanistically to green
plant mitochondria) and then genome recombination. Amborella’s epiphyte load, propensity to produce suckers from wounds, and low rate of mitochondrial DNA loss probably all contribute
to the high level of foreign DNA in its mitochondrial genome.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genome sequencing with next-generation sequence (NGS) technologies can now be applied to organisms pivotal to addressing fundamental
biological questions, but with genomes previously considered intractable or too expensive to undertake. However, for species
with large and complex genomes, extensive genetic and physical map resources have, until now, been required to direct the
sequencing effort and sequence assembly. As these resources are unavailable for most species, assembling high-quality genome
sequences from NGS data remains challenging. We describe a strategy that uses NGS, fluorescence in situ hybridization, and
whole-genome mapping to assemble a high-quality genome sequence for Amborella trichopoda, a nonmodel species crucial to understanding flowering plant evolution. These methods are applicable to many other organisms
with limited genomic resources.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Carnivorous Lentibulariaceae exhibit the most sophisticated implementation of the carnivorous syndrome in plants. Their unusual lifestyle coincides with distinct genomic peculiarities such as the smallest angiosperm nuclear genomes and extremely high nucleotide substitution rates across all genomic compartments. Here, we report the complete plastid genomes from each of the three genera Pinguicula, Utricularia and Genlisea, and investigate plastome-wide changes in their molecular evolution as the carnivorous syndrome unfolds. We observe a size reduction by up to nine percent mostly due to the independent loss of genes for the plastid NAD(P)H dehydrogenase and altered proportions of plastid repeat DNA, as well as a significant plastome-wide increase of substitution rates and microstructural changes. Protein-coding genes across all gene classes show a disproportional elevation of non-synonymous substitutions, particularly in Utricularia and Genlisea. Significant relaxation of purifying selection relative to non-carnivores occurs in the plastid-encoded fraction of the photosynthesis ATP Synthase complex, the photosystem I, and in several other photosynthesis and metabolic genes. Shifts in selective regimes also affect housekeeping genes including the plastid-encoded polymerase, for which evidence for relaxed purifying selection was found once during the transition to carnivory, and a second time during the diversification of the family. Lentibulariaceae exhibit significantly enhanced rates of nucleotide substitution in most of the 130 non-coding regions. Various factors may underlie the observed patterns of relaxation of purifying selection and substitution rate increases, such as reduced net photosynthesis rates, alternative paths of nutrient uptake (including organic carbon), and impaired DNA repair mechanisms.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Extreme haustorial parasites have long captured the interest of naturalists and scientists with their greatly reduced and highly specialized morphology. Along with the reduction or loss of photosynthesis, the plastid genome often decays as photosynthetic genes are released from selective constraint. This makes it challenging to use traditional plastid genes for parasitic plant phylogenetics, and has driven the search for alternative phylogenetic and molecular evolutionary markers. Thus, evolutionary studies, such as molecular clock-based age estimates, are not yet available for all parasitic lineages. In the present study, we extracted 14 nuclear single copy genes (nSCG) from Illumina transcriptome data from one of the "strangest plants in the world", Hydnora visseri (Hydnoraceae). A ∼15,000 character molecular dataset, based on all three genomic compartments, shows the utility of nSCG for reconstructing phylogenetic relationships in parasitic lineages. A relaxed molecular clock approach with the same multi-locus dataset, revealed an ancient age of ∼91 MYA for Hydnoraceae. We then estimated the stem ages of all independently originated parasitic angiosperm lineages using a published dataset, which also revealed a Cretaceous origin for Balanophoraceae, Cynomoriaceae and Apodanthaceae. With the exception of Santalales, older parasite lineages tend to be more specialized with respect to trophic level and have lower species diversity. We thus propose the "temporal specialization hypothesis" (TSH) implementing multiple independent specialization processes over time during parasitic angiosperm evolution.
PLoS ONE 11/2013; 8(11):e79204. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0079204 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Sacred lotus is a basal eudicot with agricultural, medicinal, cultural and religious importance. It was domesticated in Asia about 7,000 years ago, and cultivated for its rhizomes and seeds as a food crop. It is particularly noted for its 1,300-year seed longevity and exceptional water repellency, known as the lotus effect. The latter property is due to the nanoscopic closely packed protuberances of its self-cleaning leaf surface, which have been adapted for the manufacture of a self-cleaning industrial paint, Lotusan.
The genome of the China Antique variety of the sacred lotus was sequenced with Illumina and 454 technologies, at respective depths of 101× and 5.2×. The final assembly has a contig N50 of 38.8 kbp and a scaffold N50 of 3.4 Mbp, and covers 86.5% of the estimated 929 Mbp total genome size. The genome notably lacks the paleo-triplication observed in other eudicots, but reveals a lineage-specific duplication. The genome has evidence of slow evolution, with a 30% slower nucleotide mutation rate than observed in grape. Comparisons of the available sequenced genomes suggest a minimum gene set for vascular plants of 4,223 genes. Strikingly, the sacred lotus has 16 COG2132 multi-copper oxidase family proteins with root-specific expression; these are involved in root meristem phosphate starvation, reflecting adaptation to limited nutrient availability in an aquatic environment.
The slow nucleotide substitution rate makes the sacred lotus a better resource than the current standard, grape, for reconstructing the pan-eudicot genome, and should therefore accelerate comparative analysis between eudicots and monocots.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Parasitic plants, represented by several thousand species of angiosperms, use modified structures known as haustoria to tap into photosynthetic host plants and extract nutrients and water. As a result of their direct plant-plant connections with their host plant, parasitic plants have special opportunities for horizontal gene transfer, the nonsexual transmission of genetic material across species boundaries. There is increasing evidence that parasitic plants have served as recipients and donors of horizontal gene transfer (HGT), but the long-term impacts of eukaryotic HGT in parasitic plants are largely unknown.
Here we show that a gene encoding albumin 1 KNOTTIN-like protein, closely related to the albumin 1 genes only known from papilionoid legumes, where they serve dual roles as food storage and insect toxin, was found in Phelipanche aegyptiaca and related parasitic species of family Orobanchaceae, and was likely acquired by a Phelipanche ancestor via HGT from a legume host based on phylogenetic analyses. The KNOTTINs are well known for their unique “disulfide through disulfide knot” structure and have been extensively studied in various contexts, including drug design. Genomic sequences from nine related parasite species were obtained, and 3D protein structure simulation tests and evolutionary constraint analyses were performed. The parasite gene we identified here retains the intron structure, six highly conserved cysteine residues necessary to form a KNOTTIN protein, and displays levels of purifying selection like those seen in legumes. The albumin 1 xenogene has evolved through >150 speciation events over ca. 16 million years, forming a small family of differentially expressed genes that may confer novel functions in the parasites. Moreover, further data show that a distantly related parasitic plant, Cuscuta, obtained two copies of albumin 1 KNOTTIN-like genes from legumes through a separate HGT event, suggesting that legume KNOTTIN structures have been repeatedly co-opted by parasitic plants.
The HGT-derived albumins in Phelipanche represent a novel example of how plants can acquire genes from other plants via HGT that then go on to duplicate, evolve, and retain the specialized features required to perform a unique host-derived function.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Previous studies in basal angiosperms have provided insight into the diversity within the angiosperm lineage and helped to polarize analyses of flowering plant evolution. However, there is still not an experimental system for genetic studies among basal angiosperms to facilitate comparative studies and functional investigation. It would be desirable to identify a basal angiosperm experimental system that possesses many of the features found in existing plant model systems (e.g., Arabidopsis and Oryza).
We have considered all basal angiosperm families for general characteristics important for experimental systems, including availability to the scientific community, growth habit, and membership in a large basal angiosperm group that displays a wide spectrum of phenotypic diversity. Most basal angiosperms are woody or aquatic, thus are not well-suited for large scale cultivation, and were excluded. We further investigated members of Aristolochiaceae for ease of culture, life cycle, genome size, and chromosome number. We demonstrated self-compatibility for Aristolochia elegans and A. fimbriata, and transformation with a GFP reporter construct for Saruma henryi and A. fimbriata. Furthermore, A. fimbriata was easily cultivated with a life cycle of just three months, could be regenerated in a tissue culture system, and had one of the smallest genomes among basal angiosperms. An extensive multi-tissue EST dataset was produced for A. fimbriata that includes over 3.8 million 454 sequence reads.
Aristolochia fimbriata has numerous features that facilitate genetic studies and is suggested as a potential model system for use with a wide variety of technologies. Emerging genetic and genomic tools for A. fimbriata and closely related species can aid the investigation of floral biology, developmental genetics, biochemical pathways important in plant-insect interactions as well as human health, and various other features present in early angiosperms.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Orobanchaceae is the only plant family with members representing the full range of parasitic lifestyles plus a free-living lineage sister to all parasitic lineages, Lindenbergia. A generalist member of this family, and an important parasitic plant model, Triphysaria versicolor regularly feeds upon a wide range of host plants. Here, we compare de novo assembled transcriptomes generated from laser micro-dissected tissues at the host-parasite interface to uncover details of the largely uncharacterized interaction between parasitic plants and their hosts.
The interaction of Triphysaria with the distantly related hosts Zea mays and Medicago truncatula reveals dramatic host-specific gene expression patterns. Relative to above ground tissues, gene families are disproportionally represented at the interface including enrichment for transcription factors and genes of unknown function. Quantitative Real-Time PCR of a T. versicolor β-expansin shows strong differential (120x) upregulation in response to the monocot host Z. mays; a result that is concordant with our read count estimates. Pathogenesis-related proteins, other cell wall modifying enzymes, and orthologs of genes with unknown function (annotated as such in sequenced plant genomes) are among the parasite genes highly expressed by T. versicolor at the parasite-host interface.
Laser capture microdissection makes it possible to sample the small region of cells at the epicenter of parasite host interactions. The results of our analysis suggest that T. versicolor’s generalist strategy involves a reliance on overlapping but distinct gene sets, depending upon the host plant it is parasitizing. The massive upregulation of a T. versicolor β-expansin is suggestive of a mechanism for parasite success on grass hosts. In this preliminary study of the interface transcriptomes, we have shown that T. versicolor, and the Orobanchaceae in general, provide excellent opportunities for the characterization of plant genes with unknown functions.