[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The normal biological function of leaves, such as intercepting light and exchanging gasses, relies on proper differentiation of adaxial and abaxial polarity. KANADI (KAN) genes, members of the GARP family, are key regulators of abaxial identity in leaf morphogenesis. This study identified a mutant allele (apum23-3) of APUM23, which encodes a Pumilio/PUF domain protein and acts as an enhancer of the kan mutant. Arabidopsis APUM23 has been shown to function in pre-rRNA processing and play pleiotropic roles in plant development. The apum23-3 mutant also synergistically interacts with other leaf polarity mutants, affects proliferation of division-competent cells, and alters the expression of important leaf polarity genes. These phenotypes show that APUM23 has critical functions in plant development, particularly in polarity formation. The PUF gene family is conserved across kingdoms yet it has not been well characterized in plants. These results illuminating the functions of APUM23 suggest a novel role for PUF genes in Arabidopsis leaf development.
Journal of Experimental Botany 01/2014; · 5.24 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Natural variation in organ morphologies can have adaptive significance and contribute to speciation. However, the underlying allelic differences responsible for variation in organ size and shape remain poorly understood. We have utilized natural phenotypic variation in three Arabidopsis thaliana ecotypes to examine the genetic basis for quantitative variation in petal length, width, area, and shape. We identified 23 loci responsible for such variation, many of which appear to correspond to genes not previously implicated in controlling organ morphology. These analyses also demonstrated that allelic differences at distinct loci can independently affect petal length, width, area or shape, suggesting that these traits behave as independent modules. We also showed that ERECTA (ER), encoding a leucine-rich repeat (LRR) receptor-like serine-threonine kinase, is a major effect locus determining petal shape. Allelic variation at the ER locus was associated with differences in petal cell proliferation and concomitant effects on petal shape. ER has been previously shown to be required for regulating cell division and expansion in other contexts; the ER receptor-like kinase functioning to also control organ-specific proliferation patterns suggests that allelic variation in common signaling components may nonetheless have been a key factor in morphological diversification.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(2):e56743. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The establishment and maintenance of organ boundaries are vital for animal and plant development. In the Arabidopsis flower, three microRNA164 genes (MIR164a, b and c) regulate the expression of CUP-SHAPED COTYLEDON1 (CUC1) and CUC2, which encode key transcriptional regulators involved in organ boundary specification. These three miR164 genes are expressed in distinct spatial and temporal domains that are crucial for their function. Here, we show that the C2H2 zinc finger transcriptional repressor encoded by RABBIT EARS (RBE) regulates the expression of all three miR164 genes. Furthermore, we demonstrate that RBE directly interacts with the promoter of MIR164c and negatively regulates its expression. We also show that the role of RBE in sepal and petal development is mediated in part through the concomitant regulation of the CUC1 and CUC2 gene products. These results indicate that one role of RBE is to fine-tune miR164 expression to regulate the CUC1 and CUC2 effector genes, which, in turn, regulate developmental events required for sepal and petal organogenesis.
Development 05/2012; 139(12):2161-9. · 6.60 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although many models have been proposed that could lead to the maintenance of gene duplicates, the ways in which interacting gene duplicates influence each other's evolution and function remain poorly understood. Here, we focus on duplication and loss of the B class MADS box transcription factor genes in the euasterids I and the ramifications of such changes on paralog evolution and their encoded functions. In core eudicots, the B class genes belong to two paralogous lineages whose products form obligate heterodimers. Based on comparative genomic and phylogenetic analyses, we show that five stepwise B class MADS box gene gain or loss events occurred during the radiation of the euasterids I within core eudicots. Gene loss in one sublineage was correlated with a deficit of other sublineage genes. We also show that the gain or loss of B class MADS box gene paralogs were associated with altered protein-protein interactions among the remaining copies. These altered protein interactions were correlated with asymmetric patterns of sequence diversification and selection, suggesting that compensatory changes were driving the evolution of such genes. Furthermore, these B class MADS box gene gain or loss events were associated with the evolutionary divergence of floral morphology in the euasterids I. Together, these observations point to a cooperative strategy by which gene networks evolve, with selection maintaining the overall logic of a network despite changes in individual components.
Molecular Biology and Evolution 06/2011; 28(12):3367-80. · 10.35 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gene duplication has often been invoked as a key mechanism responsible for evolution of new morphologies. The floral homeotic B-group gene family has undergone a number of gene duplication events, and yet the functions of these genes appear to be largely conserved. However, detailed comparative analysis has indicated that such duplicate genes have considerable cryptic variability in their functions. In the Solanaceae, two duplicate B-group gene lineages have been retained in three subfamilies. Comparisons of orthologous genes across members of the Solanaceae have demonstrated that the combined function of all four B-gene members is to establish petal and stamen identity, but that this function was partitioned differently in each species. These observations emphasize both the robustness and the evolvability of the B-system.
We provide an overview of how the B-function genes can robustly specify petal and stamen identity and at the same time evolve through changes in protein-protein interaction, gene expression patterns, copy number variation or alterations in the downstream genes they control. By using mathematical models we explore regulatory differences between species and how these impose constraints on downstream gene regulation.
Evolvability of the B-genes can be understood through the multiple ways in which the B-system can be robust. Quantitative approaches should allow for the incorporation of more biological realism in the representations of these regulatory systems and this should contribute to understanding the constraints under which different B-systems can function and evolve. This, in turn, can provide a better understanding of the ways in which B-genes have contributed to flower diversity.
Annals of Botany 03/2011; 107(9):1545-56. · 3.45 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 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.
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.
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.
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.
Annals of Botany 03/2011; 107(9):1557-66. · 3.45 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: B-class MADS box genes specify petal and stamen identities in several core eudicot species. Members of the Solanaceae possess duplicate copies of these genes, allowing for diversification of function. To examine the changing roles of such duplicate orthologs, we assessed the functions of B-class genes in Nicotiana benthamiana and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) using virus-induced gene silencing and RNA interference approaches. Loss of function of individual duplicates can have distinct phenotypes, yet complete loss of B-class gene function results in extreme homeotic transformations of petal and stamen identities. We also show that these duplicate gene products have qualitatively different protein-protein interaction capabilities and different regulatory roles. Thus, compensatory changes in B-class MADS box gene duplicate function have occurred in the Solanaceae, in that individual gene roles are distinct, but their combined functions are equivalent. Furthermore, we show that species-specific differences in the stamen regulatory network are associated with differences in the expression of the microRNA miR169. Whereas there is considerable plasticity in individual B-class MADS box transcription factor function, there is overall conservation in the roles of the multimeric MADS box B-class protein complexes, providing robustness in the specification of petal and stamen identities. Such hidden variability in gene function as we observe for individual B-class genes can provide a molecular basis for the evolution of regulatory functions that result in novel morphologies.
The Plant Cell 08/2010; 22(8):2562-78. · 9.25 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Arabidopsis thaliana MADS box transcription factors APETALA3 (AP3) and PISTILLATA (PI) heterodimerize and are required to specify petal identity, yet many details of how this regulatory process is effected are unclear. We have identified three related genes, BHLH136/BANQUO1 (BNQ1), BHLH134/BANQUO2 (BNQ2), and BHLH161/BANQUO3 (BNQ3), as being directly and negatively regulated by AP3 and PI in petals. BNQ1, BNQ2, and BNQ3 encode products belonging to a family of atypical non-DNA binding basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) proteins that heterodimerize with and negatively regulate bHLH transcription factors. We show that bnq3 mutants have pale-green sepals and carpels and decreased chlorophyll levels, suggesting that BNQ3 has a role in regulating light responses. The ap3 bnq3 double mutant displays pale second-whorl organs, supporting the hypothesis that BNQ3 is downstream of AP3. Consistent with a role in light response, we show that the BNQ gene products regulate the function of HFR1 (for LONG HYPOCOTYL IN FAR-RED1), which encodes a bHLH protein that regulates photomorphogenesis through modulating phytochrome and cryptochrome signaling. The BNQ genes also are required for appropriate regulation of flowering time. Our results suggest that petal identity is specified in part through downregulation of BNQ-dependent photomorphogenic and developmental signaling pathways.
The Plant Cell 03/2010; 22(3):690-702. · 9.25 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Flowers come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. Despite this variety, flowers have a very stereotypical architecture, consisting of a series of sterile organs surrounding the reproductive structures. Arabidopsis, as the premier model system for molecular and genetic analyses of plant development, has provided a wealth of insights into how this architecture is specified. With the advent of the completion of the Arabidopsis genome sequence a decade ago, in combination with a rich variety of forward and reverse genetic strategies, many of the genes and regulatory pathways controlling flower initiation, patterning, growth and differentiation have been characterized. A central theme that has emerged from these studies is the complexity and abundance of both positive and negative feedback loops that operate to regulate different aspects of flower formation. Presumably, this considerable degree of feedback regulation serves to promote a robust and stable transition to flowering, even in the face of genetic or environmental perturbations. This review will summarize recent advances in defining the genes, the regulatory pathways, and their interactions, that underpin how the Arabidopsis flower is formed.
The Plant Journal 03/2010; 61(6):1014-28. · 6.58 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: AGAMOUS clade genes encode MADS box transcription factors that have been shown to play critical roles in many aspects of flower and fruit development in angiosperms. Tomato possesses two representatives of this lineage, TOMATO AGAMOUS (TAG1) and TOMATO AGAMOUS-LIKE1 (TAGL1), allowing for an analysis of diversification of function after gene duplication. Using RNAi (RNA interference) silencing, transgenic tomato lines that specifically down-regulate either TAGL1 or TAG1 transcript accumulation have been produced. TAGL1 RNAi lines show no defects in stamen or carpel identity, but show defects in fruit ripening. In contrast TAG1 RNAi lines show defects in stamen and carpel development. In addition TAG1 RNAi lines produce red ripe fruit, although they are defective in determinacy and produce ectopic internal fruit structures. e2814, an EMS- (ethyl methane sulphonate) induced mutation that is temperature sensitive and produces fruit phenotypes similar to that of TAG1 RNAi lines, was also characterized. Neither TAG1 nor TAGL1 expression is disrupted in the e2814 mutant, suggesting that the gene corresponding to the e2814 mutant represents a distinct locus that is likely to be functionally downstream of TAG1 and TAGL1. Based on these analyses, possible modes by which these gene duplicates have diversified in terms of their functions and regulatory roles are discussed.
Journal of Experimental Botany 03/2010; 61(6):1795-806. · 5.24 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The maturation and ripening of fleshy fruits is a developmental program that synchronizes seed maturation with metabolism, rendering fruit tissues desirable to seed dispersing organisms. Through RNA interference repression, we show that Tomato AGAMOUS-LIKE1 (TAGL1), the tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) ortholog of the duplicated SHATTERPROOF (SHP) MADS box genes of Arabidopsis thaliana, is necessary for fruit ripening. Tomato plants with reduced TAGL1 mRNA produced yellow-orange fruit with reduced carotenoids and thin pericarps. These fruit are also decreased in ethylene, indicating a comprehensive inhibition of maturation mediated through reduced ACC Synthase 2 expression. Furthermore, ectopic expression of TAGL1 in tomato resulted in expansion of sepals and accumulation of lycopene, supporting the role of TAGL1 in ripening. In Arabidopsis, the duplicate SHP1 and SHP2 MADS box genes regulate the development of separation layers essential for pod shatter. Expression of TAGL1 in Arabidopsis failed to completely rescue the shp1 shp2 mutant phenotypes, indicating that TAGL1 has evolved distinct molecular functions compared with its Arabidopsis counterparts. These analyses demonstrate that TAGL1 plays an important role in regulating both fleshy fruit expansion and the ripening process that together are necessary to promote seed dispersal of fleshy fruit. From this broad perspective, SHP1/2 and TAGL1, while distinct in molecular function, regulate similar activities via their necessity for seed dispersal in Arabidopsis and tomato, respectively.
The Plant Cell 10/2009; 21(10):3041-62. · 9.25 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Basal asterid families, and to a lesser extent the asterids as a whole, are characterized by a high variation in petal and stamen morphology. Moreover, the stamen number, the adnation of stamens to petals, and the degree of sympetaly vary considerably among basal asterid taxa. The B group genes, members of the APETALA3 (AP3) and PISTILLATA (PI) gene lineages, have been shown to specify petal and stamen identities in several core eudicot species. Duplicate genes in these lineages have been shown in some cases to have diversified in their function; for instance in Petunia, a PI paralog is required for the fusion of stamens to the corolla tube, illustrating that such genes belonging to this lineage are not just involved in specifying the identity of the stamens and petals but can also specify novel floral morphologies. This motivated us to study the duplication history of class B genes throughout asterid lineages, which comprise approximately one-third of all flowering plants. The evolutionary history of the PI gene subfamily indicates that the two genes in Petunia result from an ancient duplication event, coinciding with the origin of core asterids. A second duplication event occurred before the speciation of basal asterid Ericales families. These and other duplications in the PI lineage are not correlated with duplications in the AP3 lineage. To understand the molecular evolution of the Ericales PI genes after duplication, we have described their expression patterns using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and in situ hybridization, reconstructed how selection shaped their protein sequences and tested their protein interaction specificity with other class B proteins. We find that after duplication, PI paralogs have acquired multiple different expression patterns and negative selective pressure on their codons is relaxed, whereas substitutions in sites putatively involved in protein-protein interactions show positive selection, allowing for a change in the interaction behavior of the PI paralogs after duplication. Together, these observations suggest that the asterids have preferentially recruited PI duplicate genes to diverse and potentially novel roles in asterid flower development.
Molecular Biology and Evolution 09/2009; 26(11):2627-45. · 10.35 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Petals appear in many angiosperm taxa, yet when and how these attractive organs originated remains unclear. Phylogenetic reconstructions based on morphological data suggest that petals have evolved multiple times during the radiation of the angiosperms. Based on the diversity of petal morphologies, it is likely that the developmental programmes specifying petal identity are distinct in different lineages. On the other hand, molecular genetic analyses have suggested that the specification of petal identity in different lineages utilizes similar genetic pathways. Together, these observations indicate that the evolution of petals has relied on the repeated recruitment of a suite of interacting developmental control genes, albeit in different ways in different lineages. These observations suggest that this gene regulatory network represents a 'deep homology' in plant evolution. A major challenge is to understand how this ancestral developmental pathway has been redeployed in different angiosperm lineages, and how changes in the workings of this pathway have led to the myriad shapes, colours, and sizes of petals.
Journal of Experimental Botany 06/2009; 60(9):2517-27. · 5.24 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The origin and evolution of the perianth remains enigmatic. While it seems likely that an undifferentiated perianth consisting of tepals arose early in angiosperm evolution, it is unclear when and how differentiated perianths consisting of distinct organs, such as petals and sepals, arose. Phylogenetic reconstructions of ancestral perianth states across angiosperms have traditionally relied on morphological data from extant species, but these analyses often produce equivocal results. Here we describe the use of developmental genetic data as an additional strategy to infer the ancestral perianth character state for different angiosperm clades. By assessing functional data in combination with expression data in a maximum likelihood framework, we provide a novel approach for investigating the evolutionary history of the perianth. Results of this analysis provide new insights into perianth evolution and provide a proof of concept for using this strategy to explore the incorporation of developmental genetic data in character state reconstructions. As the assumptions outlined here are tested and more genetic data are generated, we hope that ancestral state reconstructions based on multiple lines of evidence will converge.
American Journal of Botany 01/2009; 96(1):83-95. · 2.59 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Organogenesis entails the regulation of cell division, cell expansion, cell and tissue type differentiation, and patterning of the organ as a whole. Petals are ideally suited to dissecting these processes. Petals are dispensable for growth and reproduction, enabling varied manipulations to be carried out with ease. In Arabidopsis, petals have a simple laminar structure with a small number of cell types, facilitating the analysis of organogenesis. This review summarizes recent studies that have illuminated some of the complex interplay between the genetic pathways controlling petal specification, growth and differentiation in Arabidopsis. These advances, coupled with the advantages of using petals as a model experimental system, provide an excellent platform to investigate the underlying mechanisms driving plant organogenesis.
Trends in Plant Science 08/2008; 13(8):430-6. · 11.81 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Floral organogenesis is dependent on the combinatorial action of MADS-box transcription factors, which in turn control the expression of suites of genes required for growth, patterning, and differentiation. In Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), the specification of petal and stamen identity depends on the action of two MADS-box gene products, APETALA3 (AP3) and PISTILLATA (PI). In a screen for genes whose expression was altered in response to the induction of AP3 activity, we identified GNC (GATA, nitrate-inducible, carbon-metabolism-involved) as being negatively regulated by AP3 and PI. The GNC gene encodes a member of the Arabidopsis GATA transcription factor family and has been implicated in the regulation of chlorophyll biosynthesis as well as carbon and nitrogen metabolism. In addition, we found that the GNC paralog, GNL (GNC-like), is also negatively regulated by AP3 and PI. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation, we showed that promoter sequences of both GNC and GNL are bound by PI protein, suggesting a direct regulatory interaction. Analyses of single and double gnc and gnl mutants indicated that the two genes share redundant roles in promoting chlorophyll biosynthesis, suggesting that in repressing GNC and GNL, AP3/PI have roles in negatively regulating this biosynthetic pathway in flowers. In addition, coexpression analyses of genes regulated by AP3, PI, GNC, and GNL indicate a complex regulatory interplay between these transcription factors in regulating a variety of light and nutrient responsive genes. Together, these results provide new insights into the transcriptional cascades controlling the specification of floral organ identities.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plants flower in response to both environmental and endogenous signals. The Arabidopsis LEAFY (LFY) transcription factor is crucial in integrating these signals, and acts in part by activating the expression of multiple floral homeotic genes. LFY-dependent activation of the homeotic APETALA3 (AP3) gene requires the activity of UNUSUAL FLORAL ORGANS (UFO), an F-box component of an SCF ubiquitin ligase, yet how this regulation is effected has remained unclear. Here, we show that UFO physically interacts with LFY both in vitro and in vivo, and this interaction is necessary to recruit UFO to the AP3 promoter. Furthermore, a transcriptional repressor domain fused to UFO reduces endogenous LFY activity in plants, supporting the idea that UFO acts as part of a transcriptional complex at the AP3 promoter. Moreover, chemical or genetic disruption of proteasome activity compromises LFY-dependent AP3 activation, indicating that protein degradation is required to promote LFY activity. These results define an unexpected role for an F-box protein in functioning as a DNA-associated transcriptional co-factor in regulating floral homeotic gene expression. These results suggest a novel mechanism for promoting flower development via protein degradation and concomitant activation of the LFY transcription factor. This mechanism may be widely conserved, as homologs of UFO and LFY have been identified in a wide array of plant species.
Development 05/2008; 135(7):1235-45. · 6.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] 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.
Development 01/2008; 134(23):4157-66. · 6.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MIKCc-type MADS-box genes encode key transcriptional regulators of a variety of developmental processes in Arabidopsis thaliana. However, there has been relatively little effort to systematically carry out comparative genomic or functional analyses of these genes across flowering plants. Here we describe a strategy to identify members of the MIKCc-type MADS-box gene family from any angiosperm species of interest. Using this approach, we have identified 24 MIKCc-type MADS-box genes in tomato, including 17 that have not previously been characterized. Using these sequences, we have performed phylogenetic analyses that indicate that there have been a number of gene duplication and loss events in tomato relative to Arabidopsis. We also describe the expression domains of these genes and compare these results with their cognates in Arabidopsis. These analyses demonstrate the utility of this approach for characterizing a large number of MIKCc-type MADS-box genes from any flowering plant species of interest and provide a framework for evolutionary comparisons of this important gene family across angiosperms.
Molecular Biology and Evolution 12/2006; 23(11):2245-58. · 10.35 Impact Factor