Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-25 (1071752)

Clipboard (0)

Related Articles

1.  Floral Morphogenesis: Stochastic Explorations of a Gene Network Epigenetic Landscape 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(11):e3626.
In contrast to the classical view of development as a preprogrammed and deterministic process, recent studies have demonstrated that stochastic perturbations of highly non-linear systems may underlie the emergence and stability of biological patterns. Herein, we address the question of whether noise contributes to the generation of the stereotypical temporal pattern in gene expression during flower development. We modeled the regulatory network of organ identity genes in the Arabidopsis thaliana flower as a stochastic system. This network has previously been shown to converge to ten fixed-point attractors, each with gene expression arrays that characterize inflorescence cells and primordial cells of sepals, petals, stamens, and carpels. The network used is binary, and the logical rules that govern its dynamics are grounded in experimental evidence. We introduced different levels of uncertainty in the updating rules of the network. Interestingly, for a level of noise of around 0.5–10%, the system exhibited a sequence of transitions among attractors that mimics the sequence of gene activation configurations observed in real flowers. We also implemented the gene regulatory network as a continuous system using the Glass model of differential equations, that can be considered as a first approximation of kinetic-reaction equations, but which are not necessarily equivalent to the Boolean model. Interestingly, the Glass dynamics recover a temporal sequence of attractors, that is qualitatively similar, although not identical, to that obtained using the Boolean model. Thus, time ordering in the emergence of cell-fate patterns is not an artifact of synchronous updating in the Boolean model. Therefore, our model provides a novel explanation for the emergence and robustness of the ubiquitous temporal pattern of floral organ specification. It also constitutes a new approach to understanding morphogenesis, providing predictions on the population dynamics of cells with different genetic configurations during development.
PMCID: PMC2572848  PMID: 18978941
2.  Flower Development 
Flowers are the most complex structures of plants. Studies of Arabidopsis thaliana, which has typical eudicot flowers, have been fundamental in advancing the structural and molecular understanding of flower development. The main processes and stages of Arabidopsis flower development are summarized to provide a framework in which to interpret the detailed molecular genetic studies of genes assigned functions during flower development and is extended to recent genomics studies uncovering the key regulatory modules involved. Computational models have been used to study the concerted action and dynamics of the gene regulatory module that underlies patterning of the Arabidopsis inflorescence meristem and specification of the primordial cell types during early stages of flower development. This includes the gene combinations that specify sepal, petal, stamen and carpel identity, and genes that interact with them. As a dynamic gene regulatory network this module has been shown to converge to stable multigenic profiles that depend upon the overall network topology and are thus robust, which can explain the canalization of flower organ determination and the overall conservation of the basic flower plan among eudicots. Comparative and evolutionary approaches derived from Arabidopsis studies pave the way to studying the molecular basis of diverse floral morphologies.
PMCID: PMC3244948  PMID: 22303253
3.  Correlation between number and position of floral organs in Arabidopsis 
Annals of Botany  2011;108(1):123-131.
Background and Aims
The study of variation in number, position and type of floral organs may serve as a key to understanding the mechanisms underlying their variation, and will make it possible to improve the analysis of gene function in model plant species by means of a more accurate characterization of mutant phenotypes. The present analysis was carried out in order to understand the correlation between number and position of floral organs in Arabidopsis thaliana.
An analysis of number and position of organs in flowers of wild type as well as in a series of mutations with floral organ position alterations was carried out, using light and electron microscopy. Variation common to different genotypes was analysed by means of individual diagrams, upon which generalized diagrams depicting variation in number and position of organs, were built by superimposition.
Key Results and Conclusions
It is shown that in the Arabidopsis flower a correlation exists between positions of petals and sepals, as well as between positions of stamens and carpels, whereas the position of carpels does not seem to depend on number and position of petals and stamens. This suggests that the position of organs in the basal (sepals) and apical (carpels) parts of the flower are determined before that in the intermediate zone. This assumption is consistent with the results of mathematical modelling and is supposed to be the consequence of stem-cell activity in the flower.
PMCID: PMC3119622  PMID: 21693667
Flower organ position; Arabidopsis thaliana; flower development; floral patterning
4.  An atlas of gene regulatory networks reveals multiple three-gene mechanisms for interpreting morphogen gradients 
Although >450 different topologies can achieve the same multicellular patterning function, they can be grouped into six main classes, which operate using different underlying dynamics.Alternative designs for the same functions can therefore split into two types: (a) topology alterations that retain the same underlying dynamics and (b) alterations that utilize a completely different underlying dynamical mechanism.This segregation of networks into distinct dynamical mechanisms can be revealed by the shape of the topology atlas itself.Cell–cell communication is not usually part of the causal mechanism underlying a band-pass response during morphogen interpretation, but it can tune the result or increase robustness.
Understanding how gene regulatory networks (GRNs) achieve particular biological functions is a central question in systems biology. Systems biology promises to go beyond a case-by-case understanding of individual networks to map out the complete design space of mechanistic possibilities that underlie biological functions. Can such maps serve as useful theoretical frameworks in which to explore the general design principles for these functions? Towards addressing these questions, we created the first design space for a morphogen interpretation function.
In order to generate a design space for such a function, we enumerated all possible wiring designs of GRNs consisting of three genes and tested their ability to perform one particular morphogen interpretation function; stripe formation, as it represents a simplified form of the much studied French flag problem and is a commonly found gene expression pattern (Figure 1A). We found that only 5% of GRNs had the ability to generate a single stripe of gene expression when simulated with a fixed morphogen input in a one-dimensional model.
We hypothesized that the core mechanisms for producing the stripe of gene expression should be represented by topologies that contain only the necessary and sufficient gene–gene interactions for that function. Hence, we utilized the notions of complexity and neighborhood to generate a complexity atlas. GRNs of such an atlas (represented by nodes) are considered neighbors if they differ by a single gene–gene interaction (neighboring GRN nodes are connected by edges). Such a metagraph (graph of graphs) can then be reorganized using complexity (number of gene–gene interactions) to determine a GRNs position in the y axis, whereas GRNs are spaced in the x axis with the aim of reducing edge crossing (Figure 5A). This reorganization reveals a striking structure, where ‘stalactites' of complexity can be seen protruding from the bottom of the atlas. Each of these stalactites converges on a single ‘core' topology that by extensive analysis we find represents a distinct mechanism.
The mechanisms employ a diverse range of distinct space–time behaviors, and the underlying core topologies display design features such as modularity and feed-forward. We mapped the mechanisms to the complexity atlas by analyzing how each particular GRN of the atlas was working. The GRNs functioning via the different mechanisms are highlighted by the different colors in Figure 5A. Mechanisms thus occupy large regions of separated topology space, suggesting them to be discrete. Analyzing transitions between mechanisms through parameter space confirms this to be the case.
We find that three of the mechanisms are employed in real patterning systems, including both blastoderm patterning in Drosophila and mesoderm specification in Xenopus (Figure 5B). The remaining three mechanisms are thus candidates for employment in other patterning systems. We explored the performance features of these mechanisms, which suggest that some have features such as robustness to parameter variation that make them highly likely to be employed in particular patterning contexts.
Only one of the six-core mechanisms absolutely requires cell–cell communication for functionality, prompting us to predict that cell–cell communication will rarely be responsible for the basic dose response of morphogen interpretation networks. However, we show how cell–cell communication has an important role in robust stripe generation in the face of a noisy morphogen input and in fine tuning the quantitative details of stripe patterning.
In summary, the complexity atlas approach is an amendable approach to any system with a clear genotype–function relationship. We demonstrate how certain functions such as morphogen interpretation may have a range of potential solutions in contrast to previous studies that analyzed more constrained functions. Furthermore, we demonstrate how such an approach can be utilized to define a ‘design space' for a given biological function that describes the different mechanistic possibilities and how they relate to one another (Figure 5). Such a design space can be used practically as a guide to discern which patterning mechanisms are likely be at work in a particular context throwing up less intuitive possibilities with powerful performance features.
The interpretation of morphogen gradients is a pivotal concept in developmental biology, and several mechanisms have been proposed to explain how gene regulatory networks (GRNs) achieve concentration-dependent responses. However, the number of different mechanisms that may exist for cells to interpret morphogens, and the importance of design features such as feedback or local cell–cell communication, is unclear. A complete understanding of such systems will require going beyond a case-by-case analysis of real morphogen interpretation mechanisms and mapping out a complete GRN ‘design space.' Here, we generate a first atlas of design space for GRNs capable of patterning a homogeneous field of cells into discrete gene expression domains by interpreting a fixed morphogen gradient. We uncover multiple very distinct mechanisms distributed discretely across the atlas, thereby expanding the repertoire of morphogen interpretation network motifs. Analyzing this diverse collection of mechanisms also allows us to predict that local cell–cell communication will rarely be responsible for the basic dose-dependent response of morphogen interpretation networks.
PMCID: PMC3010108  PMID: 21045819
design space; gene network; morphogen; patterning; systems biology
5.  Functional recapitulation of transitions in sexual systems by homeosis during the evolution of dioecy in Thalictrum 
Sexual systems are highly variable in flowering plants and an important contributor to floral diversity. The ranunculid genus Thalictrum is especially well-suited to study evolutionary transitions in sexual systems. Homeotic transformation of sexual organs (stamens and carpels) is a plausible mechanism for the transition from hermaphroditic to unisexual flowers in this lineage because flowers of dioecious species develop unisexually from inception. The single-copy gene PISTILLATA (PI) constitutes a likely candidate for rapid switches between stamen and carpel identity. Here, we first characterized the expression pattern of all B class genes in the dioecious species T. dioicum. As expected, all B class orthologs are expressed in stamens from the earliest stages. Certain AP3 lineages were also expressed late in sepal development. We then tested whether orthologs of PI could potentially control sexual system transitions in Thalictrum, by knocking-down their expression in T. dioicum and the hermaphroditic species T. thalictroides. In T. dioicum, we found that ThdPI-1/2 silencing caused stamen primordia to develop into carpels, resulting in male to female flower conversions. In T. thalictroides, we found that ThtPI silencing caused stamen primordia to develop into supernumerary carpels, resulting in hermaphroditic to female flower conversions. These phenotypes illustrate the ability for homeotic mutations to bring about sudden and potentially adaptive changes by altering the function of a single gene. We propose a two-step evolutionary model where transitions from hermaphroditic to unisexual plants in Thalictrum result from two independent mutations at a B class gene locus. Our PI knockdown experiments in T. thalictroides recapitulate the second step in this model: the evolution of female plants as a result of a loss-of-function mutation in a B class gene.
PMCID: PMC3842162  PMID: 24348491
B class genes; PISTILLATA; VIGS; RNAi; ranunculid; ABC model; sex determination; MADS box genes
6.  Comparative Transcriptional Profiling Provides Insights into the Evolution and Development of the Zygomorphic Flower of Vicia sativa (Papilionoideae) 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57338.
Vicia sativa (the common vetch) possesses a predominant zygomorphic flower and belongs to the subfamily Papilionoideae, which is related to Arabidopsis thaliana in the eurosid II clade of the core eudicots. Each vetch flower consists of 21 concentrically arranged organs: the outermost five sepals, then five petals and ten stamens, and a single carpel in the center.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We explored the floral transcriptome to examine a genome-scale genetic model of the zygomorphic flower of vetch. mRNA was obtained from an equal mixture of six floral organs, leaves and roots. De novo assembly of the vetch transcriptome using Illumina paired-end technology produced 71,553 unigenes with an average length of 511 bp. We then compared the expression changes in the 71,553 unigenes in the eight independent organs through RNA-Seq Quantification analysis. We predominantly analyzed gene expression patterns specific to each floral organ and combinations of floral organs that corresponded to the traditional ABC model domains. Comparative analyses were performed in the floral transcriptomes of vetch and Arabidopsis, and genomes of vetch and Medicago truncatula.
Our comparative analysis of vetch and Arabidopsis showed that the vetch flowers conform to a strict ABC model. We analyzed the evolution and expression of the TCP gene family in vetch at a whole-genome level, and several unigenes specific to three different vetch petals, which might offer some clues toward elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying floral zygomorphy. Our results provide the first insights into the genome-scale molecular regulatory network that controls the evolution and development of the zygomorphic flower in Papilionoideae.
PMCID: PMC3578871  PMID: 23437373
7.  Tracking the development of the petaloid fertile stamen in Canna indica: insights into the origin of androecial petaloidy in the Zingiberales 
AoB Plants  2013;5:plt009.
The order Zingiberales comprises ∼2500 species of tropical to subtropical plants, including agriculturally (e.g. banana, ginger) and horticulturally (e.g. cannas, heliconias, bird-of-paradise) important plants. Throughout the evolution of this order, the stamens have been modified from the ancestral filamentous structures that produce pollen (seen in Banana flowers) to petal-like structures that no longer bear pollen sacs (seen in Canna flowers). This results in a reduction of pollen, but an effective increase in the overall size of the floral display and perhaps in the efficacy of specialized pollinators by converting stamens into ‘petals’. This study investigates the genetic mechanisms that are involved in making petal-like structures in place of pollen-producing stamens.
Flowers of the order Zingiberales demonstrate a remarkable trend of reduction in the number of fertile stamens; from five or six fertile, filamentous stamens bearing two thecae each in Musaceae and Strelitziaceae to just a single petaloid stamen bearing a single theca in Cannaceae and Marantaceae. As one progresses from ancestral to derived floral forms, 5–6 fertile stamens are replaced by 4–5 petaloid staminodes. In Cannaceae and Costaceae, all members of the androecial whorls exhibit petaloidy, including the fertile stamen. In Costaceae, a single fertile stamen develops two thecae embedded on a broad petaloid appendage, while in Cannaceae the single fertile stamen is further reduced to a single theca with a prominent, expanded petaloid appendage. Whether petaloidy of the fertile stamen is a synapomorphy of the entire ginger clade (including Cannaceae, Costaceae, Zingiberaceae and Marantaceae), or the result of independent convergent evolution in Cannaceae, Costaceae, and some Zingiberaceae, is unclear. We combine a developmental series of the formation of the petaloid fertile stamen in Canna indica with data on the expression of B- and C-class floral organ identity genes to elucidate the organogenetic identity of the petaloid stamen and staminodes. Our data indicate that the single fertile theca in C. indica and its petaloid appendage are derived from one-half of the primordium of a single stamen, with no contribution from the remaining part of the stamen (i.e. the second theca primordium) which aborts early in development. The petaloid appendage expands later, and develops from the position of the filament/connective of the developing theca. Floral identity gene expression shows that petal identity genes (i.e. B-class genes) are expressed in all floral organs studied while C-class gene AG-1 is expressed in an increasing gradient from sepals to gynoecium, and AG-2 is expressed in all floral organs except the petals. The canonical model for molecular specification of floral organ identity is not sufficient to explain petaloidy in the androecial whorl in Canna sp. Further studies understanding the regulation of gene networks are required.
PMCID: PMC3608240  PMID: 23539493
Canna; evo-devo; floral development; MADS-box genes; petaloid stamens; petaloidy; Zingiberales
8.  'Who's who' in two different flower types of Calluna vulgaris (Ericaceae): morphological and molecular analyses of flower organ identity 
BMC Plant Biology  2009;9:148.
The ornamental crop Calluna vulgaris is of increasing importance to the horticultural industry in the northern hemisphere due to a flower organ mutation: the flowers of the 'bud-flowering' phenotype remain closed i.e. as buds throughout the total flowering period and thereby maintain more colorful flowers for a longer period of time than the wild-type. This feature is accompanied and presumably caused by the complete lack of stamens. Descriptions of this botanical particularity are inconsistent and partially conflicting. In order to clarify basic questions of flower organ identity in general and stamen loss in detail, a study of the wild-type and the 'bud-flowering' flower type of C. vulgaris was initiated.
Flowers were examined by macro- and microscopic techniques. Organ development was investigated comparatively in both the wild-type and the 'bud-flowering' type by histological analyses. Analysis of epidermal cell surface structure of vegetative tissues and perianth organs using scanning electron microscopy revealed that in wild-type flowers the outer whorls of colored organs may be identified as sepals, while the inner ones may be identified as petals. In the 'bud-flowering' type, two whorls of sepals are directly followed by the gynoecium. Both, petals and stamens, are completely missing in this flower type. The uppermost whorl of green leaves represents bracts in both flower types.
In addition, two MADS-box genes (homologs of AP3/DEF and SEP1/2) were identified in C. vulgaris using RACE-PCR. Expression analysis by qRT-PCR was conducted for both genes in leaves, bracts, sepals and petals. These experiments revealed an expression pattern supporting the organ classification based on morphological characteristics.
Organ identity in both wild-type and 'bud-flowering' C. vulgaris was clarified using a combination of microscopic and molecular methods. Our results for bract, sepal and petal organ identity are supported by the 'ABCDE model'. However, loss of stamens in the 'bud-flowering' phenotype is an exceptional flower organ modification that cannot be explained by modified spatial expression of known organ identity genes.
PMCID: PMC2803492  PMID: 20003430
9.  Simulation of Organ Patterning on the Floral Meristem Using a Polar Auxin Transport Model 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e28762.
An intriguing phenomenon in plant development is the timing and positioning of lateral organ initiation, which is a fundamental aspect of plant architecture. Although important progress has been made in elucidating the role of auxin transport in the vegetative shoot to explain the phyllotaxis of leaf formation in a spiral fashion, a model study of the role of auxin transport in whorled organ patterning in the expanding floral meristem is not available yet. We present an initial simulation approach to study the mechanisms that are expected to play an important role. Starting point is a confocal imaging study of Arabidopsis floral meristems at consecutive time points during flower development. These images reveal auxin accumulation patterns at the positions of the organs, which strongly suggests that the role of auxin in the floral meristem is similar to the role it plays in the shoot apical meristem. This is the basis for a simulation study of auxin transport through a growing floral meristem, which may answer the question whether auxin transport can in itself be responsible for the typical whorled floral pattern. We combined a cellular growth model for the meristem with a polar auxin transport model. The model predicts that sepals are initiated by auxin maxima arising early during meristem outgrowth. These form a pre-pattern relative to which a series of smaller auxin maxima are positioned, which partially overlap with the anlagen of petals, stamens, and carpels. We adjusted the model parameters corresponding to properties of floral mutants and found that the model predictions agree with the observed mutant patterns. The predicted timing of the primordia outgrowth and the timing and positioning of the sepal primordia show remarkable similarities with a developing flower in nature.
PMCID: PMC3264561  PMID: 22291882
10.  Target Genes of the MADS Transcription Factor SEPALLATA3: Integration of Developmental and Hormonal Pathways in the Arabidopsis Flower 
PLoS Biology  2009;7(4):e1000090.
The molecular mechanisms by which floral homeotic genes act as major developmental switches to specify the identity of floral organs are still largely unknown. Floral homeotic genes encode transcription factors of the MADS-box family, which are supposed to assemble in a combinatorial fashion into organ-specific multimeric protein complexes. Major mediators of protein interactions are MADS-domain proteins of the SEPALLATA subfamily, which play a crucial role in the development of all types of floral organs. In order to characterize the roles of the SEPALLATA3 transcription factor complexes at the molecular level, we analyzed genome-wide the direct targets of SEPALLATA3. We used chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by ultrahigh-throughput sequencing or hybridization to whole-genome tiling arrays to obtain genome-wide DNA-binding patterns of SEPALLATA3. The results demonstrate that SEPALLATA3 binds to thousands of sites in the genome. Most potential target sites that were strongly bound in wild-type inflorescences are also bound in the floral homeotic agamous mutant, which displays only the perianth organs, sepals, and petals. Characterization of the target genes shows that SEPALLATA3 integrates and modulates different growth-related and hormonal pathways in a combinatorial fashion with other MADS-box proteins and possibly with non-MADS transcription factors. In particular, the results suggest multiple links between SEPALLATA3 and auxin signaling pathways. Our gene expression analyses link the genomic binding site data with the phenotype of plants expressing a dominant repressor version of SEPALLATA3, suggesting that it modulates auxin response to facilitate floral organ outgrowth and morphogenesis. Furthermore, the binding of the SEPALLATA3 protein to cis-regulatory elements of other MADS-box genes and expression analyses reveal that this protein is a key component in the regulatory transcriptional network underlying the formation of floral organs.
Author Summary
Most regulatory genes encode transcription factors, which modulate gene expression by binding to regulatory sequences of their target genes. In plants in particular, which genes are directly controlled by these transcription factors, and the molecular mechanisms of target gene recognition in vivo, are still largely unexplored. One of the best-understood developmental processes in plants is flower development. In different combinations, transcription factors of the MADS-box family control the identities of the different types of floral organs: sepals, petals, stamens, and carpels. Here, we present the first genome-wide analysis of binding sites of a MADS-box transcription factor in plants. We show that the MADS-domain protein SEPALLATA3 (SEP3) binds to the regulatory regions of thousands of potential target genes, many of which are also transcription factors. We provide insight into mechanisms of DNA recognition by SEP3, and suggest roles for other transcription factor families in SEP3 target gene regulation. In addition to effects on genes involved in floral organ identity, our data suggest that SEP3 binds to, and modulates, the transcription of target genes involved in hormonal signaling pathways.
The key floral regulator SEPALLATA3 binds to the promoters of a large number of potential direct target genes to integrate different growth-related and hormonal pathways in flower development.
PMCID: PMC2671559  PMID: 19385720
11.  Floral Development of Berberidopsis corallina: a Crucial Link in the Evolution of Flowers in the Core Eudicots 
Annals of Botany  2004;94(5):741-751.
• Background and Aims On the basis of molecular evidence Berberidopsidaceae have been linked with Aextoxicaceae in an order Berberidopsidales at the base of the core Eudicots. The floral development of Berberidopsis is central to the understanding of the evolution of floral configurations at the transition of the basal Eudicots to the core Eudicots. It lies at the transition of trimerous or dimerous, simplified apetalous forms into pentamerous, petaliferous flowers.
• Methods The floral ontogeny of Berberidopsis was studied with a scanning electron microscope.
• Key Results Flowers are grouped in terminal racemes with variable development. The relationship between the number of tepals, stamens and carpels is more or less fixed and floral initiation follows a strict 2/5 phyllotaxis. Two bracteoles, 12 tepals, eight stamens and three carpels are initiated in a regular sequence. The number of stamens can be increased by a doubling of stamen positions.
• Conclusions The floral ontogeny of Berberidopsis provides support for the shift in floral bauplan from the basal Eudicots to the core Eudicots as a transition of a spiral flower with a 2/5 phyllotaxis to pentamerous flowers with two perianth whorls, two stamen whorls and a single carpel whorl. The differentiation of sepals and petals from bracteotepals is discussed and a comparison is made with other Eudicots with a similar configuration and development. Depending on the resolution of the relationships among the basalmost core Eudicots it is suggested that Berberidopsis either represents a critical stage in the evolution of pentamerous flowers of major clades of Eudicots, or has a floral prototype that may be at the base of evolution of flowers of other core Eudicots. The distribution of a floral Bauplan in other clades of Eudicots similar to Berberidopsidales is discussed.
PMCID: PMC4242220  PMID: 15451722
Aextoxicon; Berberidopsidales; Berberidopsis; core Eudicots; Streptothamnus; bracteotepals; floral development, petals; phylogeny; phyllotaxis; scanning electron microscope
12.  Arabidopsis and Tobacco SUPERMAN regulate hormone signalling and mediate cell proliferation and differentiation 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2010;62(3):949-961.
Arabidopsis thaliana SUPERMAN (SUP) plays an important role during flower development by maintaining the boundary between stamens and carpels in the inner two whorls. It was proposed that SUP maintains this boundary by regulating cell proliferation in both whorls, as loss-of-function superman mutants produce more stamens at the expense of carpels. However, the cellular mechanism that underlies SUP function remains unknown. Here Arabidopsis or tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) SUP was overexpressed in tobacco plants to substantiate SUP's role as a regulator of cell proliferation and boundary definition and provide evidence that its biological role may be mediated via hormonal changes. It was found that moderate levels of SUP stimulated cell growth and proliferation, whereas high levels were inhibitory. SUP stimulated auxin- and cytokinin-regulated processes, and cells overexpressing SUP displayed reduced hormone dependency for proliferation and regeneration into plants. SUP also induced proliferation of female traits in the second and third flower whorls and promoted differentiation of petaloid properties in sepals, further supporting a role for SUP as a boundary regulator. Moreover, cytokinin suppressed stamen development and promoted differentiation of carpeloid tissues, suggesting that SUP may regulate male and female development via its effect on cytokinin signalling. Taken together, these observations suggest a model whereby the effect of SUP on cell growth and proliferation involves the modulation of auxin- and cytokinin-regulated processes. Furthermore, differential SUP expression or different sensitivities of different cell types to SUP may determine whether SUP stimulates or suppresses their proliferation.
PMCID: PMC3022392  PMID: 20980362
Auxin; cadastral genes; cell proliferation; cytokinin; flower development; SUPERMAN
13.  Distinct double flower varieties in Camellia japonica exhibit both expansion and contraction of C-class gene expression 
BMC Plant Biology  2014;14(1):288.
Double flower domestication is of great value in ornamental plants and presents an excellent system to study the mechanism of morphological alterations by human selection. The classic ABC model provides a genetic framework underlying the control of floral organ identity and organogenesis from which key regulators have been identified and evaluated in many plant species. Recent molecular studies have underscored the importance of C-class homeotic genes, whose functional attenuation contributed to the floral diversity in various species. Cultivated Camellia japonica L. possesses several types of double flowers, however the molecular mechanism underlying their floral morphological diversification remains unclear.
In this study, we cloned the C-class orthologous gene CjAG in C. japonica. We analyzed the expression patterns of CjAG in wild C. japonica, and performed ectopic expression in Arabidopsis. These results revealed that CjAG shared conserved C-class function that controls stamen and carpel development. Further we analyzed the expression pattern of CjAG in two different C. japonica double-flower varieties, ‘Shibaxueshi’ and ‘Jinpanlizhi’, and showed that expression of CjAG was highly contracted in ‘Shibaxueshi’ but expanded in inner petals of ‘Jinpanlizhi’. Moreover, detailed expression analyses of B- and C-class genes have uncovered differential patterns of B-class genes in the inner organs of ‘Jinpanlizhi’.
These results demonstrated that the contraction and expansion of CjAG expression were associated with the formation of different types of double flowers. Our studies have manifested two different trajectories of double flower domestication regarding the C-class gene expression in C. japonica.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12870-014-0288-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4219040  PMID: 25344122
Double flower; AGAMOUS; Camellia; Domestication
14.  Within and between Whorls: Comparative Transcriptional Profiling of Aquilegia and Arabidopsis 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(3):e9735.
The genus Aquilegia is an emerging model system in plant evolutionary biology predominantly because of its wide variation in floral traits and associated floral ecology. The anatomy of the Aquilegia flower is also very distinct. There are two whorls of petaloid organs, the outer whorl of sepals and the second whorl of petals that form nectar spurs, as well as a recently evolved fifth whorl of staminodia inserted between stamens and carpels.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We designed an oligonucleotide microarray based on EST sequences from a mixed tissue, normalized cDNA library of an A. formosa x A. pubescens F2 population representing 17,246 unigenes. We then used this array to analyze floral gene expression in late pre-anthesis stage floral organs from a natural A. formosa population. In particular, we tested for gene expression patterns specific to each floral whorl and to combinations of whorls that correspond to traditional and modified ABC model groupings. Similar analyses were performed on gene expression data of Arabidopsis thaliana whorls previously obtained using the Ath1 gene chips (data available through The Arabidopsis Information Resource).
Our comparative gene expression analyses suggest that 1) petaloid sepals and petals of A. formosa share gene expression patterns more than either have organ-specific patterns, 2) petals of A. formosa and A. thaliana may be independently derived, 3) staminodia express B and C genes similar to stamens but the staminodium genetic program has also converged on aspects of the carpel program and 4) staminodia have unique up-regulation of regulatory genes and genes that have been implicated with defense against microbial infection and herbivory. Our study also highlights the value of comparative gene expression profiling and the Aquilegia microarray in particular for the study of floral evolution and ecology.
PMCID: PMC2843724  PMID: 20352114
15.  An incoherent regulatory network architecture that orchestrates B cell diversification in response to antigen signaling 
B cell receptor signaling controls the expression of IRF-4, a transcription factor required for B cell differentiation. This study shows that IRF-4 regulates divergent B cell fates via a ‘kinetic-control' mechanism that determines the duration of a transient developmental state.
The intensity of signaling through the B cell receptor controls the level of expression of IRF-4, a transcription factor required for B cell differentiation. The rate of IRF-4 production dictates the extent of antibody gene diversification that B cells undergo upon antigen encounter before differentiating into antibody-secreting plasma cells.Computational modeling and experimental analyses substantiate a model, whereby IRF-4 regulates B cell fate trajectories via a ‘kinetic-control' mechanism.Kinetic control is a process by which B cells pass through an obligate state of variable duration that sets the degree of cellular diversification prior to their terminal differentiation.An incoherent regulatory network architecture, within which IRF-4 is embedded, is the basis for realization of kinetic control.
The generation of a diverse set of pathogen-specific antibodies, with differing affinities and effector functions, by B lymphocytes is essential for efficient protection from many microorganisms. Antibody gene diversification in B cells is mediated by two molecular processes termed class-switch recombination and somatic hypermutation (CSR/SHM) (F1A). The former enables the generation of antibodies with the same antigen-binding specificity, but different effector domains, whereas the latter results in a repertoire of antibodies with a range of affinities for a given antigen containing the same effector domain. CSR/SHM occurs in antigen-activated B cells before their terminal differentiation into plasma cells. The transcription factor IRF-4 is required for CSR/SHM as well as plasma-cell differentiation, with its highest levels of expression being necessary for the latter. IRF-4 acts in the context of a network of regulators that include Blimp-1, Pax5, Bach2 and Bcl-6 (F1B). Despite extensive characterization of these individual factors, how the network responds to sensing of antigen by the B cell antigen receptor (BCR, antibody molecule expressed on cell surface) to regulate the extent of antibody gene diversification and plasma-cell differentiation remains to be addressed.
To address this issue, we assemble a computational model. The model reveals two contrasting scenarios that can underlie B cell fate dynamics. In one case, the initial rate of IRF-4 production controls a binary cell fate choice that involves either going to the CSR/SHM state or to the plasma-cell state; the time spent in the CSR state is relatively insensitive to the initial rate of IRF-4 production (herein called ‘basic bistability'). In the other case, IRF-4 drives all cells through a transient CSR/SHM state, but the initial rate of IRF-4 production sets its duration (‘kinetic control'). Both scenarios predict that increasing the initial rate of IRF-4 production favors the generation of plasma cells at the expense of CSR/SHM, but they differ fundamentally with respect to the underlying gene expression patterns.
To distinguish between these two scenarios experimentally, we utilize two different genetic models. The first involves the B1-8i transgenic mouse whose B cells express a rearranged V187.2 VDJ Ig heavy chain gene segment that is specific for the hapten nitrophenol (NP). The second is a newly developed mouse model that allows exogenous control of IRF-4 expression in naive primary B cells using a tet-inducible allele. Using these models, we show that (i) BCR signal strength sets the initial rate of IRF-4 accumulation and (ii) the concentration of IRF-4 is sensed by an incoherent gene regulatory network architecture to regulate the extent of CSR/SHM prior to plasma-cell differentiation. Our results are consistent with the ‘kinetic-control model' in which the levels of BCR-induced IRF-4 expression control the duration of an obligate CSR/SHM state that enables B cell diversification before terminal differentiation into plasma cells. Evidence for the transient CSR/SHM state is corroborated by both patterns of gene expression and the presence of AID-dependent mutations in individual non-switched plasmablasts.
Our results provide a molecular framework for understanding how B cells balance the competing demands for Ig CSR and SHM with the secretion of antibodies during humoral immune responses. The key feature of the network architecture that allows IRF-4 to coordinate the two competing states of gene expression in a temporal manner is that it simultaneously but asymmetrically activates both sides of a bistable mutual repression circuit. Because the two effects of the primary regulator antagonize each other, we describe the circuit as being based on an ‘incoherent' regulatory motif. Other incoherent regulatory motifs in varied biological systems are also associated with the acquisition of transient cell states, and we consider how the kinetic-control mechanism proposed by us could more generally serve to translate developmental cues into elaborate morphogenetic patterns.
The B-lymphocyte lineage is a leading system for analyzing gene regulatory networks (GRNs) that orchestrate distinct cell fate transitions. Upon antigen recognition, B cells can diversify their immunoglobulin (Ig) repertoire via somatic hypermutation (SHM) and/or class switch DNA recombination (CSR) before differentiating into antibody-secreting plasma cells. We construct a mathematical model for a GRN underlying this developmental dynamic. The intensity of signaling through the Ig receptor is shown to control the bimodal expression of a pivotal transcription factor, IRF-4, which dictates B cell fate outcomes. Computational modeling coupled with experimental analysis supports a model of ‘kinetic control', in which B cell developmental trajectories pass through an obligate transient state of variable duration that promotes diversification of the antibody repertoire by SHM/CSR in direct response to antigens. More generally, this network motif could be used to translate a morphogen gradient into developmental inductive events of varying time, thereby enabling the specification of distinct cell fates.
PMCID: PMC3130558  PMID: 21613984
BCR signal strength; bistability; gene regulatory network; ghost of a fixed point; Irf4
16.  A Regulatory Network for Coordinated Flower Maturation 
PLoS Genetics  2012;8(2):e1002506.
For self-pollinating plants to reproduce, male and female organ development must be coordinated as flowers mature. The Arabidopsis transcription factors AUXIN RESPONSE FACTOR 6 (ARF6) and ARF8 regulate this complex process by promoting petal expansion, stamen filament elongation, anther dehiscence, and gynoecium maturation, thereby ensuring that pollen released from the anthers is deposited on the stigma of a receptive gynoecium. ARF6 and ARF8 induce jasmonate production, which in turn triggers expression of MYB21 and MYB24, encoding R2R3 MYB transcription factors that promote petal and stamen growth. To understand the dynamics of this flower maturation regulatory network, we have characterized morphological, chemical, and global gene expression phenotypes of arf, myb, and jasmonate pathway mutant flowers. We found that MYB21 and MYB24 promoted not only petal and stamen development but also gynoecium growth. As well as regulating reproductive competence, both the ARF and MYB factors promoted nectary development or function and volatile sesquiterpene production, which may attract insect pollinators and/or repel pathogens. Mutants lacking jasmonate synthesis or response had decreased MYB21 expression and stamen and petal growth at the stage when flowers normally open, but had increased MYB21 expression in petals of older flowers, resulting in renewed and persistent petal expansion at later stages. Both auxin response and jasmonate synthesis promoted positive feedbacks that may ensure rapid petal and stamen growth as flowers open. MYB21 also fed back negatively on expression of jasmonate biosynthesis pathway genes to decrease flower jasmonate level, which correlated with termination of growth after flowers have opened. These dynamic feedbacks may promote timely, coordinated, and transient growth of flower organs.
Author Summary
Perfect flowers have both male organs that produce and release pollen and female organs that make and harbor seeds. Flowers also often attract pollinators using visual or chemical signals. So that male, female, and pollinator attraction functions occur at the right time, flower organs must grow and mature in a coordinated fashion. In the model self-pollinating plant Arabidopsis, a transcriptional network regulates genes that ensure coordinated growth of different flower organs, as well as pollen release and gynoecium (female) competence to support pollination. This network also regulates nectary development and production of volatile chemicals that may attract or repel insects. We have studied growth, chemical signal levels, and gene expression in mutants affected in components of this network, in order to determine how flower growth is controlled. Several plant hormones act in a cascade that promotes flower maturation. Moreover, regulatory feedback loops affect the timing and extent of developmental steps. Positive feedbacks may ensure that the development of different flower organs is coordinated and rapid, whereas negative feedbacks may allow growth to cease once flowers have opened. Our results provide a framework to understand how flower opening and reproduction are coordinated in Arabidopsis and other flowering plants.
PMCID: PMC3276552  PMID: 22346763
17.  Leaf Development 
The shoot system is the basic unit of development of seed plants and is composed of a leaf, a stem, and a lateral bud that differentiates into a lateral shoot. The most specialized organ in angiosperms, the flower, can be considered to be part of the same shoot system since floral organs, such as the sepal, petal, stamen, and carpel, are all modified leaves. Scales, bracts, and certain kinds of needle are also derived from leaves. Thus, an understanding of leaf development is critical to an understanding of shoot development. Moreover, leaves play important roles in photosynthesis, respiration and photoperception. Thus, a full understanding of leaves is directly related to a full understanding of seed plants.
The details of leaf development remain unclear. The difficulties encountered in studies of leaf development, in particular in dicotyledonous plants such as Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Henyn., are derived from the complex process of leaf development, during which the division and elongation of cells occur at the same time and in the same region of the leaf primordium (Maksymowych, 1963; Poethig and Sussex, 1985). Thus, we cannot divide the entire process into unit processes in accordance with the tenets of classical anatomy.
Genetic approaches in Arabidopsis, a model plant (Meyerowitz and Pruitt, 1985), have provided a powerful tool for studies of mechanisms of leaf development in dicotyledonous plants, and various aspects of the mechanisms that control leaf development have been revealed in recent developmental and molecular genetic studies of Arabidopsis (for reviews, see Tsukaya, 1995 and 1998; Van Lijsebettens and Clarke, 1998; Sinha, 1999; Van Volkenburgh, 1999; Tsukaya, 2000; Byrne et al., 2001; Dengler and Kang, 2001; Dengler and Tsukaya, 2001; Tsukaya, 2001). In this review, we shall examine the information that is currently available about various mechanisms of leaf development in Arabidopsis. Vascular patterning is also an important factor in the determination of leaf shape, and this topic is reviewed in this resource by Turner (see also Dengler and Kang, 2001). The interested reader is also referred to work on the basic characterization of the vascular patterning in foliage leaves of Arabidopsis has been carried out by Candela et al. (1999) and Semiarti et al. (2001). For terminology, see Fig. 1.
PMCID: PMC3243299  PMID: 22303217
18.  Comparative Transcript Profiling of a Male Sterile Cybrid Pummelo and Its Fertile Type Revealed Altered Gene Expression Related to Flower Development 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43758.
Male sterile and seedless characters are highly desired for citrus cultivar improvement. In our breeding program, a male sterile cybrid pummelo, which could be considered as a variant of male fertile pummelo, was produced by protoplast fusion. Herein, ecotopic stamen primordia initiation and development were detected in this male sterile cybrid pummelo. Histological studies revealed that the cybrid showed reduced petal development in size and width, and retarded stamen primordia development. Additionally, disorganized cell proliferation was also detected in stamen-like structures (fused to petals and/or carpel). To gain new insight into the underlying mechanism, we compared, by RNA-Seq analysis, the nuclear gene expression profiles of floral buds of the cybrid with that of fertile pummelo. Gene expression profiles which identified a large number of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between the two lines were captured at both petal primordia and stamen primordia distinguishable stages. For example, nuclear genes involved in nucleic acid binding and response to hormone synthesis and metabolism, genes required for floral bud identification and expressed in particular floral whorls. Furthermore, in accordance with flower morphology of the cybrid, expression of PISTILLATA (PI) was reduced in stamen-like structures, even though it was restricted to correct floral whorls. Down-regulated expression of APETALA3 (AP3) coincided with that of PI. These finding indicated that, due to their whorl specific effects in flower development, citrus class-B MADS-box genes likely constituted ‘perfect targets’ for CMS retrograde signaling, and that dysfunctional mitochondria seemed to cause male sterile phenotype in the cybrid pummelo.
PMCID: PMC3429507  PMID: 22952758
19.  Transcriptional and hormonal regulation of petal and stamen development by STAMENLESS, the tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) orthologue to the B-class APETALA3 gene 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2014;65(9):2243-2256.
Characterization of stamenless mutants reveals that petal and stamen identity in tomato depends on gene–hormone interactions, as mediated by the tomato APETALA3 orthologue STAMENLESS gene (SL, syn. TAP3, SlDEF, LeAP3).
Four B-class MADS box genes specify petal and stamen organ identities in tomato. Several homeotic mutants affected in petal and stamen development were described in this model species, although the causal mutations have not been identified for most of them. In this study we characterized a strong stamenless mutant in the tomato Primabel cultivar (sl-Pr), which exhibited homeotic conversion of petals into sepals and stamens into carpels and we compared it with the stamenless mutant in the LA0269 accession (sl-LA0269). Genetic complementation analysis proved that both sl mutants were allelic. Sequencing revealed point mutations in the coding sequence of the Tomato APETALA3 (TAP3) gene of the sl-Pr genome, which lead to a truncated protein, whereas a chromosomal rearrangement in the TAP3 promoter was detected in the sl-LA0269 allele. Moreover, the floral phenotype of TAP3 antisense plants exhibited identical homeotic changes to sl mutants. These results demonstrate that SL is the tomato AP3 orthologue and that the mutant phenotype correlated to the SL silencing level. Expression analyses showed that the sl-Pr mutation does not affect the expression of other tomato B-class genes, although SL may repress the A-class gene MACROCALYX. A partial reversion of the sl phenotype by gibberellins, gene expression analysis, and hormone quantification in sl flowers revealed a role of phytohormones in flower development downstream of the SL gene. Together, our results indicated that petal and stamen identity in tomato depends on gene–hormone interactions, as mediated by the SL gene.
PMCID: PMC4036497  PMID: 24659487
APETALA3; B-class gene; flower morphogenesis; hormone regulation; Solanum lycopersicum; STAMENLESS; tomato.
20.  Expression of floral identity genes in Clianthus maximus during mass inflorescence abortion and floral development 
Annals of Botany  2011;107(9):1501-1509.
Background and Aims
Clianthus maximus is a leguminous perennial with an unusual order of floral organ insertion, and inflorescences produced year round that nearly all abort except during a limited time in autumn. This study aimed to determine at what point in floral organ differentiation abortion occurred and whether the expression of the floral identity genes underlies this cessation in flower development.
Inflorescences were harvested across an annual cycle and flower development was examined by light and scanning electron microscopy. Expression of the C. maximus-equivalents of LEAFY (LFY), APETALA1 (AP1), PISTILLATA (PI) and AGAMOUS (AG) was monitored simultaneously by quantitative, reverse transcriptase PCR.
Key Results
Only those inflorescences formed in autumn proceeded to anthesis. Organogenesis had not begun in inflorescences that aborted. The C. maximus-equivalents of AP1, PI and AG were expressed in sepals, petals, carpels and stamens, as expected from the ABC model of floral organ identity specification; furthermore, the order of expression of the three genes reflected the unusual pattern of organ differentiation. Low expression of LFY and AP1 was observed during inflorescence abortion.
Predictions of gene expression based on the ABC model were upheld despite the unusual mass abortion of inflorescences and the non-standard pattern of organ formation. The lack of expression of LFY and AP1 in inflorescences may have been the cause of inflorescence abortion.
PMCID: PMC3108803  PMID: 21385774
ABC model; Clianthus maximus; floral development; floral identity genes; gene expression; inflorescence abortion; LEAFY; APETALA1; PISTILLATA; AGAMOUS; qRT-PCR
21.  Emergence and patterning of the five cell types of the Zea mays anther locule 
Developmental biology  2010;350(1):32-49.
One fundamental difference between plants and animals is the existence of a germ-line in animals and its absence in plants. In flowering plants the sexual organs (stamens and carpels) are composed almost entirely of somatic cells, a small subset of which switch to meiosis, however, the mechanism of meiotic cell fate acquisition is a long-standing botanical mystery. In the maize (Zea mays) anther microsporangium the somatic tissues consist of four concentric cell layers which surround and support reproductive cells as they progress through meiosis and pollen maturation. Male sterility, defined as the absence of viable pollen, is a common phenotype in flowering plants, and many male sterile mutants have defects in somatic and reproductive cell fate acquisition. However, without a robust model of anther cell fate acquisition based on careful observation of wild type anther ontogeny, interpretation of cell fate mutants is limited. To address this, the pattern of cell proliferation, expansion, and differentiation was tracked in three dimensions over thirty days of wild type (W23) anther development, using anthers stained with propidium iodide (PI) and/or 5-ethynyl-2′-deoxyuridine (EdU) (S-phase label) and imaged by confocal microscopy. The pervading lineage model of anther development claims that new cell layers are generated by coordinated, oriented cell divisions in transient precursor cell types. In reconstructing anther cell division patterns, however, we can only confirm this for the origin of the middle layer (ml) and tapetum, while young anther development appears more complex. We find that each anther cell type undergoes a burst of cell division after specification with a characteristic pattern of both cell expansion and division. Comparisons between two inbreds lines and between ab- and adaxial anther florets indicated near identity: anther development is highly canalized and synchronized. Three classical models of plant organ development are tested and ruled out; however, local clustering of developmental events was identified for several processes, including the first evidence for a direct relationship between the development of ml and tapetal cells. We speculate that small groups of ml and tapetum cells function as a developmental unit dedicated to the development of a single pollen grain.
PMCID: PMC3024885  PMID: 21070762
22.  Floral patterning defects induced by Arabidopsis APETALA2 and microRNA172 expression in Nicotiana benthamiana 
Plant molecular biology  2006;61(4-5):781-793.
Floral patterning and morphogenesis are controlled by many transcription factors including floral homeotic proteins, by which floral organ identity is determined. Recent studies have uncovered widespread regulation of transcription factors by microRNAs (miRNAs), ~21-nucleotide non-coding RNAs that regulate protein-coding RNAs through transcript cleavage and/or translational inhibition. The regulation of the floral homeotic gene APETALA2 (AP2) by miR172 is crucial for normal Arabidopsis flower development and is likely to be conserved across plant species. Here we probe the activity of the AP2/miR172 regulatory circuit in a heterologous Solanaceae species, Nicotiana benthamiana. We generated transgenic N. benthamiana lines expressing Arabidopsis wild type AP2 (35S∷AP2), miR172-resistant AP2 mutant (35S∷AP2m3) and MIR172a-1 (35S∷MIR172) under the control of the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter. 35S∷AP2m3 plants accumulated high levels of AP2 mRNA and protein and exhibited floral patterning defects that included proliferation of numerous petals, stamens and carpels indicating loss of floral determinacy. On the other hand, nearly all 35S∷AP2 plants accumulated barely detectable levels of AP2 mRNA or protein and were essentially non-phenotypic. Overall, the data indicated that expression of the wild type Arabidopsis AP2 transgene was repressed at the mRNA level by an endogenous N. benthamiana miR172 homologue that could be detected using Arabidopsis miR172 probe. Interestingly, 35S∷MIR172 plants had sepal-to-petal transformations and/or more sepals and petals, suggesting interference with N. benthamiana normal floral homeotic gene function in perianth organs. Our studies uncover the potential utility of the Arabidopsis AP2/miR172 system as a tool for manipulation of floral architecture and flowering time in non-model plants.
PMCID: PMC3574581  PMID: 16897492
APETALA2; Arabidopsis; microRNA; miR172; Nicotiana benthamiana
23.  The double-corolla phenotype in the Hawaiian lobelioid genus Clermontia involves ectopic expression of PISTILLATA B-function MADS box gene homologs 
EvoDevo  2012;3:26.
The Hawaiian endemic genus Clermontia (Campanulaceae) includes 22 species, 15 of which, the double-corolla species, are characterized by an extra whorl of organs that appear to be true petals occupying what is normally the sepal whorl. Previous research has shown that the presence of homeotic petaloid organs in some other plant groups correlates with ectopic expression of B-function MADS box genes, but similar core eudicot examples of apparent groundplan divergence remain unstudied. B-function genes, which are not normally expressed in the sepal whorl, are required for determination and maintenance of petal identity. Here, we investigate the potential role of altered B-function gene expression contributing to the morphological diversity of this island genus.
We examined the morphology and developmental genetics of two different species of Clermontia, one of which, C. arborescens, has normal sepals while the other, C. parviflora, has two whorls of petal-like organs. Scanning electron microscopy of cell surface morphologies of first and second whorl organs in the double-corolla species C. parviflora revealed conical epidermal cells on the adaxial surfaces of both first and second whorl petaloid organs, strongly suggesting a homeotic conversion in the former. Phylogenetic analysis of Clermontia species based on 5S ribosomal DNA non-transcribed spacer sequences indicated a probable single and geologically recent origin of the double-corolla trait within the genus, with numerous potential reversals to the standard sepal-petal format. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis of homologs of the B-function genes PISTILLATA (PI), APETALA3 and TOMATO MADS 6 indicated ectopic expression of two PI paralogs in the first whorl of C. parviflora; no such homeotic expression was observed for the other two genes, nor for several other MADS box genes involved in various floral and non-floral functions. In the standard sepal-petal species C. arborescens, ectopic expression of PI homologs was not observed. In C. parviflora, the upregulation of PI homologs was precisely restricted to the perianth and stamen whorls, excluding a simple overexpression phenotype. In situ hybridization analysis of C. parviflora material similarly showed first and second whorl PI homolog expression in developing flower buds.
Our morphological and gene expression data strongly suggest that a drastic and heritable phenotypic change, at the level of floral groundplan, can originate from a homeotic mutation that is likely regulatory, being under precise spatiotemporal control as opposed to having pleiotropic characteristics. The uniqueness of this trait among core eudicots could be linked to increased ecological viability in an unstable island environment, a chance event which need not have posed any immediate adaptive benefit. We argue that the evolutionarily young morphological radiation of Clermontia may form a model system for general understanding of mechanisms of larger-scale angiosperm diversification in past, similarly unstable environments, in which small regulatory changes may have been responsible for modern-day groundplan differences.
Trial registration
Clinical NCT01710735
Significance and Innovations
The present investigation is one of the first to examine the hypothesis of gross muscle contractile inhibition due to the presence of diagnostically relevant MFTrPs. Individuals suffering from clinically relevant levels of self-reported pain are able to tolerate maximum voluntary contraction testing, but delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a likely side-effect irrespective of symptom status. As a consequence, its confounding effect during subsequent testing must be taken into account.
PMCID: PMC3564722  PMID: 23116179
Myofascial pain; Trigger points; Neck/shoulder pain; Health status
24.  The Making of a Compound Inflorescence in Tomato and Related Nightshades 
PLoS Biology  2008;6(11):e288.
Variation in the branching of plant inflorescences determines flower number and, consequently, reproductive success and crop yield. Nightshade (Solanaceae) species are models for a widespread, yet poorly understood, program of eudicot growth, where short side branches are initiated upon floral termination. This “sympodial” program produces the few-flowered tomato inflorescence, but the classical mutants compound inflorescence (s) and anantha (an) are highly branched, and s bears hundreds of flowers. Here we show that S and AN, which encode a homeobox transcription factor and an F-box protein, respectively, control inflorescence architecture by promoting successive stages in the progression of an inflorescence meristem to floral specification. S and AN are sequentially expressed during this gradual phase transition, and the loss of either gene delays flower formation, resulting in additional branching. Independently arisen alleles of s account for inflorescence variation among domesticated tomatoes, and an stimulates branching in pepper plants that normally have solitary flowers. Our results suggest that variation of Solanaceae inflorescences is modulated through temporal changes in the acquisition of floral fate, providing a flexible evolutionary mechanism to elaborate sympodial inflorescence shoots.
Author Summary
Among the most distinguishing features of plants are the flower-bearing shoots, called inflorescences. Despite a solid understanding of flower development, the molecular mechanisms that control inflorescence architecture remain obscure. We have explored this question in tomato, where mutations in two genes, ANANTHA (AN) and COMPOUND INFLORESCENCE (S), transform the well-known tomato “vine” into a highly branched structure with hundreds of flowers. We find that AN encodes an F-box protein ortholog of a gene called UNUSUAL FLORAL ORGANS that controls the identity of floral organs (petals, sepals, and so on), whereas S encodes a transcription factor related to a gene called WUSCHEL HOMEOBOX 9 that is involved in patterning the embryo within the plant seed. (F-box proteins are known for marking other proteins for degradation, but they can also function in hormone regulation and transcriptional activation) Interestingly, these genes have little or no effect on branching in inflorescences that grow continuously (so-called “indeterminate” shoots), as in Arabidopsis. However, we find that transient sequential expression of S followed by AN promotes branch termination and flower formation in plants where meristem growth ends with inflorescence and flower production (“determinate” shoots). We show that mutant alleles of s dramatically increase branch and flower number and have probably been selected for by breeders during modern cultivation. Moreover, the single-flower inflorescence of pepper (a species related to tomato, within the same Solanaceae family) can be converted to a compound inflorescence upon mutating its AN ortholog. Our results suggest a new developmental mechanism whereby inflorescence elaboration can be controlled through temporal regulation of floral fate.
Plant flower production is largely determined by the number of inflorescences, the branches produced on flower stems. Two genes identified in tomato reveal a new phase transition that may explain the mechanism of evolution of compound inflorescences in the Solanaceae family.
PMCID: PMC2586368  PMID: 19018664
25.  A soybean MADS-box protein modulates floral organ numbers, petal identity and sterility 
BMC Plant Biology  2014;14:89.
The MADS-box transcription factors play fundamental roles in reproductive developmental control. Although the roles of many plant MADS-box proteins have been extensively studied, there are almost no functional studies of them in soybean, an important protein and oil crop in the world. In addition, the MADS-box protein orthologs may have species-specific functions. Controlling male fertility is an important goal in plant hybrid breeding but is difficult in some crops like soybean. The morphological structure of soybean flowers prevents the cross-pollination. Understanding the molecular mechanisms for floral development will aid in engineering new sterile materials that could be applied in hybrid breeding programs in soybean.
Through microarray analysis, a flower-enriched gene in soybean was selected and designated as GmMADS28. GmMADS28 belongs to AGL9/SEP subfamily of MADS-box proteins, localized in nucleus and showed specific expression patterns in floral meristems as well as stamen and petal primordia. Expression of GmMADS28 in the stamens and petals of a soybean mutant NJS-10Hfs whose stamens are converted into petals was higher than in those of wild-type plants. Constitutive expression of GmMADS28 in tobacco promoted early flowering and converted stamens and sepals to petals. Interestingly, transgenic plants increased the numbers of sepal, petal and stamen from five to six and exhibited male sterility due to the shortened and curly filaments and the failure of pollen release from the anthers. The ectopic expression of GmMADS28 was found to be sufficient to activate expression of tobacco homologs of SOC1, LEAFY, AGL8/FUL, and DEF. In addition, we observed the interactions of GmMADS28 with soybean homologs of SOC1, AP1, and AGL8/FUL proteins.
In this study, we observed the roles of GmMADS28 in the regulation of floral organ number and petal identity. Compared to other plant AGL9/SEP proteins, GmMADS28 specifically regulates floral organ number, filament length and pollen release. The sterility caused by the ectopic expression of GmMADS28 offers a promising way to genetically produce new sterile material that could potentially be applied in the hybrid breeding of crops like soybean.
PMCID: PMC4021551  PMID: 24693922
Fertility; Floral organ number; Petal identity; Glycine max; MADS-box transcription factors

Results 1-25 (1071752)