Understanding plant evolution: morphology to molecules
Litt, Amy , Mohamed, Abeer , Pabon Mora, Natalia , Nowogrodzki, Anna .
Functional evolution of the APETALA1/FRUITFULL gene lineage: a molecular approach to understanding morphological evolution.
Like many MADS-box gene lineages, the APETALA1/FRUITFULL (AP1/FUL) lineage underwent a duplication that coincided with the origin of the core eudicots. Sequence divergence in the core eudicot euAP1 clade (including Arabidopsis AP1) suggests these genes may have diverged functionally from the core eudicot euFUL (including Arabidopsis FUL) and ancestral FUL-like genes. This suggests that mechanisms of floral development may have changed with the origin of the core eudicots. The origin of euAP1 genes may have played a role in the fixation of whorled floral structure; AP1 function is required for the transition from inflorescence (spiral) to flower (whorled).
Arabidopsis AP1 is required for proper sepal and petal identity, whereas FUL plays a role in fruit development. Both participate in specifying floral meristem identity, thus this may be the ancestral role of these genes. However, there are few data to test this hypothesis, particularly from non-core-eudicot FUL-like genes. Furthermore, evidence regarding the role of euAP1 and euFUL genes is inconsistent. Thus we currently cannot assess whether new gene functions arose with the origin of the euAP1 genes and the core eudicots, and if so, whether they resulted in changes in floral development and morphology.
Our current research has two main components: (1) clarifying the roles of euAP1 and euFUL genes in Arabidopsis and (2) determining the function of orthologs from species outside the core eudicots. Preliminary data suggest that euAP1 and euFUL genes may be similar functionally in spite of divergent amino acid motifs. Downregulation of single FUL-like genes from poppy has no effect on floral development, but we are investigating redundancy. Our evidence suggests that the role of these genes may have changed with the origin of the core eudicots (or Brassicaceae) but the role of the novel sequence motifs associated with the euAP1 clade remains under investigation.
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1 - The New York Botanical Garden, 200th St and Southern Boulevard, Bronx, NY, 10458-5126, USA
2 - The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG), Genomics, 2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY, 10458, USA
3 - Graduate Center CUNY/ New York Botanical Garden, Plant Sciences, 200th St and Southern Blvd, Plant Research Laboratory, Bronx, NY, 10458, USA
Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Location: Room 4/Woodward
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2008
Time: 4:45 PM