skip to main content

Title: Differential Gene Expression with an Emphasis on Floral Organ Size Differences in Natural and Synthetic Polyploids of Nicotiana tabacum (Solanaceae)
Floral organ size, especially the size of the corolla, plays an important role in plant reproduction by facilitating pollination efficiency. Previous studies have outlined a hypothesized organ size pathway. However, the expression and function of many of the genes in the pathway have only been investigated in model diploid species; therefore, it is unknown how these genes interact in polyploid species. Although correlations between ploidy and cell size have been shown in many systems, it is unclear whether there is a difference in cell size between naturally occurring and synthetic polyploids. To address these questions comparing floral organ size and cell size across ploidy, we use natural and synthetic polyploids of Nicotiana tabacum (Solanaceae) as well as their known diploid progenitors. We employ a comparative transcriptomics approach to perform analyses of differential gene expression, focusing on candidate genes that may be involved in floral organ size, both across developmental stages and across accessions. We see differential expression of several known floral organ candidate genes including ARF2, BIG BROTHER, and GASA/GAST1. Results from linear models show that ploidy, cell width, and cell number positively influence corolla tube circumference; however, the effect of cell width varies by ploidy, and diploids have a more » significantly steeper slope than both natural and synthetic polyploids. These results demonstrate that polyploids have wider cells and that polyploidy significantly increases corolla tube circumference. « less
; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Polyacetylenic lipids accumulate in various Apiaceae species after pathogen attack, suggesting that these compounds are naturally occurring pesticides and potentially valuable resources for crop improvement. These compounds also promote human health and slow tumor growth. Even though polyacetylenic lipids were discovered decades ago, the biosynthetic pathway underlying their production is largely unknown. To begin filling this gap and ultimately enable polyacetylene engineering, we studied polyacetylenes and their biosynthesis in the major Apiaceae crop carrot (Daucus carota subsp. sativus). Using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, we identified three known polyacetylenes and assigned provisional structures to two novel polyacetylenes. We also quantified these compounds in carrot leaf, petiole, root xylem, root phloem, and root periderm extracts. Falcarindiol and falcarinol predominated and accumulated primarily in the root periderm. Since the multiple double and triple carbon-carbon bonds that distinguish polyacetylenes from ubiquitous fatty acids are often introduced by Δ12 oleic acid desaturase (FAD2)-type enzymes, we mined the carrot genome for FAD2 genes. We identified a FAD2 family with an unprecedented 24 members and analyzed public, tissue-specific carrot RNA-Seq data to identify coexpressed members with root periderm-enhanced expression. Six candidate genes were heterologously expressed individually and in combination in yeast and Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), resultingmore »in the identification of one canonical FAD2 that converts oleic to linoleic acid, three divergent FAD2-like acetylenases that convert linoleic into crepenynic acid, and two bifunctional FAD2s with Δ12 and Δ14 desaturase activity that convert crepenynic into the further desaturated dehydrocrepenynic acid, a polyacetylene pathway intermediate. These genes can now be used as a basis for discovering other steps of falcarin-type polyacetylene biosynthesis, to modulate polyacetylene levels in plants, and to test the in planta function of these molecules. Many organisms implement specialized biochemical pathways to convert ubiquitous metabolites into bioactive chemical compounds. Since plants comprise the majority of the human diet, specialized plant metabolites play crucial roles not only in crop biology but also in human nutrition. Some asterids produce lipid compounds called polyacetylenes (for review, see Negri, 2015) that exhibit antifungal activity (Garrod et al., 1978; Kemp, 1978; Harding and Heale, 1980, 1981; Olsson and Svensson, 1996) and accumulate in response to fungal phytopathogen attack (De Wit and Kodde, 1981; Elgersma and Liem, 1989). These observations have led to the longstanding hypothesis that polyacetylenes are natural pesticides. These same lipid compounds exhibit cytotoxic activity against human cancer cell lines and slow tumor growth (Fujimoto and Satoh, 1988; Matsunaga et al., 1989, 1990; Cunsolo et al., 1993; Bernart et al., 1996; Kobaek-Larsen et al., 2005; Zidorn et al., 2005), making them important nutritional compounds. The major source of polyacetylenes in the human diet is carrot (Daucus carota L.). Carrot is one of the most important crop species in the Apiaceae, with rapidly increasing worldwide cultivation (Rubatzky et al., 1999; Dawid et al., 2015). The most common carrot polyacetylenes are C17 linear aliphatic compounds containing two conjugated carbon-carbon triple bonds, one or two carbon-carbon double bonds, and a diversity of additional in-chain oxygen-containing functional groups. In carrot, the most abundant of these compounds are falcarinol and falcarindiol (Dawid et al., 2015). Based on their structures, it has been hypothesized that these compounds (alias falcarin-type polyacetylenes) are derived from ubiquitous fatty acids. Indeed, biochemical investigations (Haigh et al., 1968; Bohlman, 1988), radio-chemical tracer studies (Barley et al., 1988), and the discovery of pathway intermediates (Jones et al., 1966; Kawazu et al., 1973) implicate a diversion of flux away from linolenate biosynthesis as the entry point into falcarin-type polyacetylene biosynthesis (for review, see Minto and Blacklock, 2008). The final steps of linolenate biosynthesis are the conversion of oleate to linoleate, mediated by fatty acid desaturase 2 (FAD2), and linoleate to linolenate, catalyzed by FAD3. Some plant species contain divergent forms of FAD2 that, instead of or in addition to converting oleate to linoleate, catalyze the installation of unusual in-chain functional groups such as hydroxyl groups, epoxy groups, conjugated double bonds, or carbon-carbon triple bonds into the acyl chain (Badami and Patil, 1980) and thus divert flux from linolenate production into the accumulation of unusual fatty acids. Previous work in parsley (Petroselinum crispum; Apiaceae) identified a divergent form of FAD2 that (1) was up-regulated in response to pathogen treatment and (2) when expressed in soybean embryos resulted in production of the monoyne crepenynate and, by the action of an unassigned enzyme, dehydrocrepenynate (Kirsch et al., 1997; Cahoon et al., 2003). The results of the parsley studies are consistent with a pathogen-responsive, divergent FAD2-mediated pathway that leads to acetylenic fatty acids. However, information regarding the branch point into acetylenic fatty acid production in agriculturally relevant carrot is still largely missing, in particular, the identification and functional characterization of enzymes that can divert carbon flux away from linolenate biosynthesis into the production of dehydrocrepenynate and ultimately falcarin-type polyacetylenes. Such genes, once identified, could be used in the future design of transgenic carrot lines with altered polyacetylene content, enabling direct testing of in planta polyacetylene function and potentially the engineering of pathogen-resistant, more nutritious carrots. These genes could also provide the foundation for further investigations of more basic aspects of plant biology, including the evolution of fatty acid-derived natural product biosynthesis pathways across the Asterid clade, as well as the role of these pathways and compounds in plant ecology and plant defense. Recently, a high-quality carrot genome assembly was released (Iorizzo et al., 2016), providing a foundation for genome-enabled studies of Apiaceous species. This study also provided publicly accessible RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) data from diverse carrot tissues. Using these resources, this study aimed to provide a detailed gas chromatography-based quantification of polyacetylenes in carrot tissues for which RNA-Seq data are available, then combine this information with bioinformatics analysis and heterologous expression to identify and characterize biosynthetic genes that underlie the major entry point into carrot polyacetylene biosynthesis. To achieve these goals, thin-layer chromatography (TLC) was combined with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and gas chromatography-flame ionization detection to identify and quantify polyacetylenic metabolites in five different carrot tissues. Then the sequences and tissue expression profiles of potential FAD2 and FAD2-like genes annotated in the D. carota genome were compared with the metabolite data to identify candidate pathway genes, followed by biochemical functionality tests using yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisae) and Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) as heterologous expression systems.« less
  2. Bilaterally symmetric flowers have evolved over a hundred times in angiosperms, yet orthologs of the transcription factors CYCLOIDEA (CYC), RADIALIS (RAD), and DIVARICATA (DIV) are repeatedly implicated in floral symmetry changes. We examined these candidate genes to elucidate the genetic underpinnings of floral symmetry changes in florally diverse Rhododendron, reconstructing gene trees and comparing gene expression across floral organs in representative species with radial and bilateral flower symmetries. Radially symmetric R. taxifolium Merr. and bilaterally symmetric R. beyerinckianum Koord. had four and five CYC orthologs, respectively, from shared tandem duplications. CYC orthologs were expressed in the longer dorsal petals and stamens and highly expressed in R. beyerinckianum pistils, whereas they were either ubiquitously expressed, lost from the genome, or weakly expressed in R. taxifolium. Both species had two RAD and DIV orthologs uniformly expressed across all floral organs. Differences in gene structure and expression of Rhododendron RAD compared to other asterids suggest that these genes may not be regulated by CYC orthologs. Our evidence supports CYC orthologs as the primary regulators of differential organ growth in Rhododendron flowers, while also suggesting certain deviations from the typical asterid gene regulatory network for flower symmetry.
  3. Mitochondrial and plastid functions depend on coordinated expression of proteins encoded by genomic compartments that have radical differences in copy number of organellar and nuclear genomes. In polyploids, doubling of the nuclear genome may add challenges to maintaining balanced expression of proteins involved in cytonuclear interactions. Here, we use ribo-depleted RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) to analyze transcript abundance for nuclear and organellar genomes in leaf tissue from four different polyploid angiosperms and their close diploid relatives. We find that even though plastid genomes contain <1% of the number of genes in the nuclear genome, they generate the majority (69.9 to 82.3%) of messenger RNA (mRNA) transcripts in the cell. Mitochondrial genes are responsible for a much smaller percentage (1.3 to 3.7%) of the leaf mRNA pool but still produce much higher transcript abundances per gene compared to nuclear genome. Nuclear genes encoding proteins that functionally interact with mitochondrial or plastid gene products exhibit mRNA expression levels that are consistently more than 10-fold lower than their organellar counterparts, indicating an extreme cytonuclear imbalance at the RNA level despite the predominance of equimolar interactions at the protein level. Nevertheless, interacting nuclear and organellar genes show strongly correlated transcript abundances across functional categories, suggestingmore »that the observed mRNA stoichiometric imbalance does not preclude coordination of cytonuclear expression. Finally, we show that nuclear genome doubling does not alter the cytonuclear expression ratios observed in diploid relatives in consistent or systematic ways, indicating that successful polyploid plants are able to compensate for cytonuclear perturbations associated with nuclear genome doubling.« less
  4. Purugganan, Michael (Ed.)
    Abstract Whole-genome duplication (polyploidization) is among the most dramatic mutational processes in nature, so understanding how natural selection differs in polyploids relative to diploids is an important goal. Population genetics theory predicts that recessive deleterious mutations accumulate faster in allopolyploids than diploids due to the masking effect of redundant gene copies, but this prediction is hitherto unconfirmed. Here, we use the cotton genus (Gossypium), which contains seven allopolyploids derived from a single polyploidization event 1–2 Million years ago, to investigate deleterious mutation accumulation. We use two methods of identifying deleterious mutations at the nucleotide and amino acid level, along with whole-genome resequencing of 43 individuals spanning six allopolyploid species and their two diploid progenitors, to demonstrate that deleterious mutations accumulate faster in allopolyploids than in their diploid progenitors. We find that, unlike what would be expected under models of demographic changes alone, strongly deleterious mutations show the biggest difference between ploidy levels, and this effect diminishes for moderately and mildly deleterious mutations. We further show that the proportion of nonsynonymous mutations that are deleterious differs between the two coresident subgenomes in the allopolyploids, suggesting that homoeologous masking acts unequally between subgenomes. Our results provide a genome-wide perspective on classic notionsmore »of the significance of gene duplication that likely are broadly applicable to allopolyploids, with implications for our understanding of the evolutionary fate of deleterious mutations. Finally, we note that some measures of selection (e.g., dN/dS, πN/πS) may be biased when species of different ploidy levels are compared.« less
  5. Polyploidy is a prominent feature for genome evolution in many animals and all flowering plants. Plant polyploids often show enhanced fitness in diverse and extreme environments, but the molecular basis for this remains elusive. Soil salinity presents challenges for many plants including agricultural crops. Here we report that salt tolerance is enhanced in tetraploid rice through lower sodium uptake and correlates with epigenetic regulation of jasmonic acid (JA)–related genes. Polyploidy induces DNA hypomethylation and potentiates genomic loci coexistent with many stress-responsive genes, which are generally associated with proximal transposable elements (TEs). Under salt stress, the stress-responsive genes including those in the JA pathway are more rapidly induced and expressed at higher levels in tetraploid than in diploid rice, which is concurrent with increased jasmonoyl isoleucine (JA-Ile) content and JA signaling to confer stress tolerance. After stress, elevated expression of stress-responsive genes in tetraploid rice can induce hypermethylation and suppression of the TEs adjacent to stress-responsive genes. These induced responses are reproducible in a recurring round of salt stress and shared between twojaponicatetraploid rice lines. The data collectively suggest a feedback relationship between polyploidy-induced hypomethylation in rapid and strong stress response and stress-induced hypermethylation to repress proximal TEs and/or TE-associated stress-responsivemore »genes. This feedback regulation may provide a molecular basis for selection to enhance adaptation of polyploid plants and crops during evolution and domestication.

    « less