skip to main content

Title: The regulatory network for petal anthocyanin pigmentation is shaped by the MYB5a/NEGAN transcription factor in Mimulus
Abstract Much of the visual diversity of angiosperms is due to the frequent evolution of novel pigmentation patterns in flowers. The gene network responsible for anthocyanin pigmentation, in particular, has become a model for investigating how genetic changes give rise to phenotypic innovation. In the monkeyflower genus Mimulus, an evolutionarily recent gain of petal lobe anthocyanin pigmentation in M. luteus var. variegatus was previously mapped to genomic region pla2. Here, we use sequence and expression analysis, followed by transgenic manipulation of gene expression, to identify MYB5a—orthologous to the NEGAN transcriptional activator from M. lewisii—as the gene responsible for the transition to anthocyanin-pigmented petals in M. l. variegatus. In other monkeyflower taxa, MYB5a/NEGAN is part of a reaction-diffusion network that produces semi-repeating spotting patterns, such as the array of spots in the nectar guides of both M. lewisii and M. guttatus. Its co-option for the evolution of an apparently non-patterned trait—the solid petal lobe pigmentation of M. l. variegatus—illustrates how reaction-diffusion can contribute to evolutionary novelty in non-obvious ways. Transcriptome sequencing of a MYB5a RNAi line of M. l. variegatus reveals that this genetically simple change, which we hypothesize to be a regulatory mutation in cis to MYB5a, has cascading effects more » on gene expression, not only on the enzyme-encoding genes traditionally thought of as the targets of MYB5a but also on all of its known partners in the anthocyanin regulatory network. « less
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Bomblies, K
Award ID(s):
1655311 1754075 2031272 1754080
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Townsend, Jeffrey (Ed.)
    Abstract Dissecting the relationship between gene function and substitution rates is key to understanding genome-wide patterns of molecular evolution. Biochemical pathways provide powerful systems for investigating this relationship because the functional role of each gene is often well characterized. Here, we investigate the evolution of the flavonoid pigment pathway in the colorful Petunieae clade of the tomato family (Solanaceae). This pathway is broadly conserved in plants, both in terms of its structural elements and its MYB, basic helix–loop–helix, and WD40 transcriptional regulators, and its function has been extensively studied, particularly in model species of petunia. We built a phylotranscriptomic data set for 69 species of Petunieae to infer patterns of molecular evolution across pathway genes and across lineages. We found that transcription factors exhibit faster rates of molecular evolution (dN/dS) than their targets, with the highly specialized MYB genes evolving fastest. Using the largest comparative data set to date, we recovered little support for the hypothesis that upstream enzymes evolve slower than those occupying more downstream positions, although expression levels do predict molecular evolutionary rates. Although shifts in floral pigmentation were only weakly related to changes affecting coding regions, we found a strong relationship with the presence/absence patterns of MYBmore »transcripts. Intensely pigmented species express all three main MYB anthocyanin activators in petals, whereas pale or white species express few or none. Our findings reinforce the notion that pathway regulators have a dynamic history, involving higher rates of molecular evolution than structural components, along with frequent changes in expression during color transitions.« less
  2. Abstract Here we respond to the paper entitled “ Contribution of anthocyanin pathways to fruit flesh coloration in pitayas ” (Fan et al., BMC Plant Biol 20:361, 2020). In this paper Fan et al. 2020 propose that the anthocyanins can be detected in the betalain-pigmented genus Hylocereus , and suggest they are responsible for the colouration of the fruit flesh. We are open to the idea that, given the evolutionary maintenance of fully functional anthocyanin synthesis genes in betalain-pigmented species, anthocyanin pigmentation might co-occur with betalain pigments, as yet undetected, in some species. However, in absence of the LC-MS/MS spectra and co-elution/fragmentation of the authentic standard comparison, the findings of Fan et al. 2020 are not credible. Furthermore, our close examination of the paper, and re-analysis of datasets that have been made available, indicate numerous additional problems. Namely, the failure to detect betalains in an untargeted metabolite analysis, accumulation of reported anthocyanins that does not correlate with the colour of the fruit, absence of key anthocyanin synthesis genes from qPCR data, likely mis-identification of key anthocyanin genes, unreproducible patterns of correlated RNAseq data, lack of gene expression correlation with pigmentation accumulation, and putative transcription factors that are weak candidates for transcriptional up-regulation of the anthocyaninmore »pathway.« less
  3. Wittkopp, Patricia (Ed.)
    Abstract Chromatin configuration is highly dynamic during embryonic development in animals, exerting an important point of control in transcriptional regulation. Yet there exists remarkably little information about the role of evolutionary changes in chromatin configuration to the evolution of gene expression and organismal traits. Genome-wide assays of chromatin configuration, coupled with whole-genome alignments, can help address this gap in knowledge in several ways. In this study we present a comparative analysis of regulatory element sequences and accessibility throughout embryogenesis in three sea urchin species with divergent life histories: a lecithotroph Heliocidaris erythrogramma, a closely related planktotroph H. tuberculata, and a distantly related planktotroph Lytechinus variegatus. We identified distinct epigenetic and mutational signatures of evolutionary modifications to the function of putative cis-regulatory elements in H. erythrogramma that have accumulated nonuniformly throughout the genome, suggesting selection, rather than drift, underlies many modifications associated with the derived life history. Specifically, regulatory elements composing the sea urchin developmental gene regulatory network are enriched for signatures of positive selection and accessibility changes which may function to alter binding affinity and access of developmental transcription factors to these sites. Furthermore, regulatory element changes often correlate with divergent expression patterns of genes involved in cell type specification,more »morphogenesis, and development of other derived traits, suggesting these evolutionary modifications have been consequential for phenotypic evolution in H. erythrogramma. Collectively, our results demonstrate that selective pressures imposed by changes in developmental life history rapidly reshape the cis-regulatory landscape of core developmental genes to generate novel traits and embryonic programs.« less
  4. Embryonic development is arguably the most complex process an organism undergoes during its lifetime, and understanding this complexity is best approached with a systems-level perspective. The sea urchin has become a highly valuable model organism for understanding developmental specification, morphogenesis, and evolution. As a non-chordate deuterostome, the sea urchin occupies an important evolutionary niche between protostomes and vertebrates. Lytechinus variegatus (Lv) is an Atlantic species that has been well studied, and which has provided important insights into signal transduction, patterning, and morphogenetic changes during embryonic and larval development. The Pacific species, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus (Sp), is another well-studied sea urchin, particularly for gene regulatory networks (GRNs) and cis-regulatory analyses. A well-annotated genome and transcriptome for Sp are available, but similar resources have not been developed for Lv. Here, we provide an analysis of the Lv transcriptome at 11 timepoints during embryonic and larval development. Temporal analysis suggests that the gene regulatory networks that underlie specification are well-conserved among sea urchin species. We show that the major transitions in variation of embryonic transcription divide the developmental time series into four distinct, temporally sequential phases. Our work shows that sea urchin development occurs via sequential intervals of relatively stable gene expression states thatmore »are punctuated by abrupt transitions.« less
  5. Purugganan, Michael (Ed.)
    Abstract Nudix hydrolases are conserved enzymes ubiquitously present in all kingdoms of life. Recent research revealed that several Nudix hydrolases are involved in terpenoid metabolism in plants. In modern roses, RhNUDX1 is responsible for formation of geraniol, a major compound of rose scent. Nevertheless, this compound is produced by monoterpene synthases in many geraniol-producing plants. As a consequence, this raised the question about the origin of RhNUDX1 function and the NUDX1 gene evolution in Rosaceae, in wild roses or/and during the domestication process. Here, we showed that three distinct clades of NUDX1 emerged in the Rosoidae subfamily (Nudx1-1 to Nudx1-3 clades), and two subclades evolved in the Rosa genus (Nudx1-1a and Nudx1-1b subclades). We also showed that the Nudx1-1b subclade was more ancient than the Nudx1-1a subclade, and that the NUDX1-1a gene emerged by a trans-duplication of the more ancient NUDX1-1b gene. After the transposition, NUDX1-1a was cis-duplicated, leading to a gene dosage effect on the production of geraniol in different species. Furthermore, the NUDX1-1a appearance was accompanied by the evolution of its promoter, most likely from a Copia retrotransposon origin, leading to its petal-specific expression. Thus, our data strongly suggest that the unique function of NUDX1-1a in geraniol formationmore »was evolved naturally in the genus Rosa before domestication.« less