Background and Aims
For 84 years, botanists have relied on calculating the highest common factor for series of haploid chromosome numbers to arrive at a so-called basic number, x. This was done without consistent (reproducible) reference to species relationships and frequencies of different numbers in a clade. Likelihood models that treat polyploidy, chromosome fusion and fission as events with particular probabilities now allow reconstruction of ancestral chromosome numbers in an explicit framework. We have used a modelling approach to reconstruct chromosome number change in the large monocot family Araceae and to test earlier hypotheses about basic numbers in the family.
Using a maximum likelihood approach and chromosome counts for 26 % of the 3300 species of Araceae and representative numbers for each of the other 13 families of Alismatales, polyploidization events and single chromosome changes were inferred on a genus-level phylogenetic tree for 113 of the 117 genera of Araceae.
The previously inferred basic numbers x = 14 and x = 7 are rejected. Instead, maximum likelihood optimization revealed an ancestral haploid chromosome number of n = 16, Bayesian inference of n = 18. Chromosome fusion (loss) is the predominant inferred event, whereas polyploidization events occurred less frequently and mainly towards the tips of the tree.
The bias towards low basic numbers (x) introduced by the algebraic approach to inferring chromosome number changes, prevalent among botanists, may have contributed to an unrealistic picture of ancestral chromosome numbers in many plant clades. The availability of robust quantitative methods for reconstructing ancestral chromosome numbers on molecular phylogenetic trees (with or without branch length information), with confidence statistics, makes the calculation of x an obsolete approach, at least when applied to large clades.
Araceae; Bayesian inference; chromosome evolution; haploid chromosome number; dysploidy; maximum likelihood inference; polyploidy
Background and Aims
ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (AGPase) is a key enzyme of starch biosynthesis. In the green plant lineage, it is composed of two large (LSU) and two small (SSU) sub-units encoded by paralogous genes, as a consequence of several rounds of duplication. First, our aim was to detect specific patterns of molecular evolution following duplication events and the divergence between monocotyledons and dicotyledons. Secondly, we investigated coevolution between amino acids both within and between sub-units.
A phylogeny of each AGPase sub-unit was built using all gymnosperm and angiosperm sequences available in databases. Accelerated evolution along specific branches was tested using the ratio of the non-synonymous to the synonymous substitution rate. Coevolution between amino acids was investigated taking into account compensatory changes between co-substitutions.
We showed that SSU paralogues evolved under high functional constraints during angiosperm radiation, with a significant level of coevolution between amino acids that participate in SSU major functions. In contrast, in the LSU paralogues, we identified residues under positive selection (1) following the first LSU duplication that gave rise to two paralogues mainly expressed in angiosperm source and sink tissues, respectively; and (2) following the emergence of grass-specific paralogues expressed in the endosperm. Finally, we found coevolution between residues that belong to the interaction domains of both sub-units.
Our results support the view that coevolution among amino acid residues, especially those lying in the interaction domain of each sub-unit, played an important role in AGPase evolution. First, within SSU, coevolution allowed compensating mutations in a highly constrained context. Secondly, the LSU paralogues probably acquired tissue-specific expression and regulatory properties via the coevolution between sub-unit interacting domains. Finally, the pattern we observed during LSU evolution is consistent with repeated sub-functionalization under ‘Escape from Adaptive Conflict’, a model rarely illustrated in the literature.
Angiosperms; monocotyledons; dicotyledons; paralogue genes; molecular evolution; coevolution; neofunctionalization; subfunctionalization; starch synthesis; AGPase
Background and Aims
The potential for gene exchange between species with different ploidy levels has long been recognized, but only a few studies have tested this hypothesis in situ and most of them focused on not more than two co-occurring species. In this study, we examined hybridization patterns in two sites containing three species of the genus Dactylorhiza (diploid D. incarnata and D. fuchsii and their allotetraploid derivative D. praetermissa).
To compare the strength of reproductive barriers between diploid species, and between diploid and tetraploid species, crossing experiments were combined with morphometric and molecular analyses using amplified fragment length polymorphism markers, whereas flow cytometric analyses were used to verify the hybrid origin of putative hybrids.
In both sites, extensive hybridization was observed, indicating that gene flow between species is possible within the investigated populations. Bayesian assignment analyses indicated that the majority of hybrids were F1 hybrids, but in some cases triple hybrids (hybrids with three species as parents) were observed, suggesting secondary gene flow. Crossing experiments showed that only crosses between pure species yielded a high percentage of viable seeds. When hybrids were involved as either pollen-receptor or pollen-donor, almost no viable seeds were formed, indicating strong post-zygotic reproductive isolation and high sterility.
Strong post-mating reproductive barriers prevent local breakdown of species boundaries in Dactylorhiza despite frequent hybridization between parental species. However, the presence of triple hybrids indicates that in some cases hybridization may extend the F1 generation.
AFLP; Dactylorhiza incarnata; Dactylorhiza praetermissa; genetic analysis; hybridization; morphology; polyploidy; reproductive isolation; triple hybrid
Background and Aims
The analysis of variability in mineral allocation to seeds has rarely been considered in relation to allometric patterns and deviations from the allometric trajectory. Here, I examine the scaling of carbon (C), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and sulfur (S) with seed mass in field-collected seeds of Hedera helix, taking into account that brood size might influence the allocation patterns.
C, N and S contents of 56 individual seeds of different sizes were analysed by combustion using a standard automated CNHS procedure. P content was determined for 200 individual seeds using spectrophotometry after acid digestion of ashed samples. This sample included seeds from different brood sizes.
C and N content both varied isometrically with seed mass and this variable explained most of the variation in their content in seeds. P and S, however, varied allometrically with seed mass. Additionally, seed mass only explained 37·3 % and 37·6 % of the total variance in P and S content, respectively. Seeds with higher mass contained proportionately more P and, furthermore, the seeds from small broods contained proportionally more P than those from large broods.
Although seed mass in this species can be used as a surrogate of investment in C and N, it does not account for variability in allocation of nutrients such as P and S. The fact that larger seeds increased their P concentration when found in smaller broods might be a consequence of intense competition for this nutrient among developing seeds. Then, brood size may influence the mineral nutrient concentration of seeds.
Allocation; phosphorus; nitrogen; stoichiometry; seed mass; brood size; sibling rivalry
Background and Aims
The functions of plant latex have been discussed for a long time. Today, many studies support a defence mechanism as being its main function. A role as a self-healing mechanism was never attributed to the coagulation of latex. In this study we quantified the contribution of the coagulation of Ficus benjamina (weeping fig) latex to a restoration of the mechanical properties of the bark after external lesions.
Tensile tests of F. benjamina bark were conducted either immediately after injury or at various latency times after injury.
A significant increase in the tensile strength of bark samples until 30 min after injury was found, and this effect could be attributed to the coagulation of plant latex alone. The tensile strength remains nearly constant until several hours or days after injury. Then, very probably due to other mechanisms such as cell growth and cell proliferation, the tensile strength begins to increase slightly again.
The coagulation of latex seals lesions and serves as a quick and effective pre-step of subsequent, more effective, long-lasting self-healing mechanisms such as cell growth and proliferation. Thus, a fast self-healing effect can be included in the list of functions of plant latex.
Self-healing; latex coagulation; tensile strength; external lesion; Ficus benjamina
Background and Aims
Self-pollination dominates in wheat, with a small level of out-crossing due to flowering asynchrony and male sterility. However, the timing and synchrony of male and female flowering in wheat is a crucial determinant of seed set and may be an important factor affecting gene flow and resilience to climate change. Here, a methodology is presented for assessing the timing and synchrony of flowering in wheat, Triticum aestivum.
From the onset of flowering until the end of anthesis, the anther and stigma activity of each floret was assessed on the first five developing ears in potted plants grown under ambient conditions and originating from ‘Paragon’ or ‘Spark-Rialto’ backgrounds. At harvest maturity, seed presence, size and weight was recorded for each floret scored.
Key Results and Conclusions
The synchrony between pollen dehiscence and stigma collapse within a flower was dependent on its relative position in a spike and within a floret. Determined on the basis of synchrony within each flower, the level of pollination by pollen originating from other flowers reached approx. 30 % and did not change throughout the duration of flowering. A modelling exercise parameterized by flowering observations indicated that the temporal and spatial variability of anther activity within and between spikes may influence the relative resilience of wheat to sudden, extreme climatic events which has direct relevance to predicted future climate scenarios in the UK.
Wheat; Triticum aestivum; flowering synchrony; pollination; climate change; heat resistance
Background and Aims
Satellite DNA is a genomic component present in virtually all eukaryotic organisms. The turnover of highly repetitive satellite DNA is an important element in genome organization and evolution in plants. Here we assess the presence and physical distribution of the repetitive DNA E180 family in Medicago and allied genera. Our goals were to gain insight into the karyotype evolution of Medicago using satellite DNA markers, and to evaluate the taxonomic and phylogenetic signal of a satellite DNA family in a genus hypothesized to have a complex evolutionary history.
Seventy accessions from Medicago, Trigonella, Melilotus and Trifolium were analysed by PCR to assess the presence of the repetitive E180 family, and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) was used for physical mapping in somatic chromosomes.
The E180 repeat unit was PCR-amplified in 37 of 40 taxa in Medicago, eight of 12 species of Trigonella, six of seven species of Melilotus and in two of 11 Trifolium species. Examination of the mitotic chromosomes revealed that only 13 Medicago and two Trigonella species showed FISH signals using the E180 probe. Stronger hybridization signals were observed in subtelomeric and interstitial loci than in the pericentromeric loci, suggesting this satellite family has a preferential genomic location. Not all 13 Medicago species that showed FISH localization of the E180 repeat were phylogenetically related. However, nine of these species belong to the phylogenetically derived clade including the M. sativa and M. arborea complexes.
The use of the E180 family as a phylogenetic marker in Medicago should be viewed with caution. Its amplification appears to have been produced through recurrent and independent evolutionary episodes in both annual and perennial Medicago species as well as in basal and derived clades.
Medicago; Trigonella; Melilotus; Trifolium; satellite DNA; repetitive E180 family; FISH
Background and Aims
The family Balsaminaceae is essentially herbaceous, except for some woodier species that can be described as ‘woody’ herbs or small shrubs. The family is nested within the so-called balsaminoid clade of Ericales, including the exclusively woody families Tetrameristaceae and Marcgraviaceae, which is sister to the remaining families of the predominantly woody order. A molecular phylogeny of Balsaminaceae is compared with wood anatomical observations to find out whether the woodier species are derived from herbaceous taxa (i.e. secondary woodiness), or whether woodiness in the family represents the ancestral state for the order (i.e. primary woodiness).
Wood anatomical observations of 68 Impatiens species and Hydrocera triflora, of which 47 are included in a multigene phylogeny, are carried out using light and scanning electron microscopy and compared with the molecular phylogenetic insights.
There is much continuous variation in wood development between the Impatiens species studied, making the distinction between herbaceousness and woodiness difficult. However, the most woody species, unambiguously considered as truly woody shrubs, all display paedomorphic wood features pointing to secondary woodiness. This hypothesis is further supported by the molecular phylogeny, demonstrating that these most woody species are derived from herbaceous (or less woody) species in at least five independent clades. Wood formation in H. triflora is mostly confined to the ribs of the stems and shows paedomorphic wood features as well, suggesting that the common ancestor of Balsaminaceae was probably herbaceous.
The terms ‘herbaceousness’ and ‘woodiness’ are notoriously difficult to use in Balsaminaceae. However, anatomical observations and molecular sequence data show that the woodier species are derived from less woody or clearly herbaceous species, demonstrating that secondary woodiness has evolved in parallel.
Balsaminaceae; herbaceousness; Hydrocera; Impatiens; insular woodiness; light microscopy; primary woodiness; secondary woodiness; wood anatomy
Background and Aims
Fine-scale, spatial heterogeneity in soil nutrient availability can increase the growth of individual plants, the productivity of plant communities and interspecific competition. If this is due to the ability of plants to concentrate their roots where nutrient levels are high, then nutrient heterogeneity should have little effect on intraspecific competition, especially when there are no genotypic differences between individuals in root plasticity. We tested this hypothesis in a widespread, clonal species in which individual plants are known to respond to nutrient heterogeneity.
Plants derived from a single clone of Alternanthera philoxeroides were grown in the greenhouse at low or high density (four or 16 plants per 27·5 × 27·5-cm container) with homogeneous or heterogeneous availability of soil nutrients, keeping total nutrient availability per container constant. After 9 weeks, measurements of size, dry mass and morphology were taken.
Plants grew more in the heterogeneous than in the homogeneous treatment, showing that heterogeneity promoted performance; they grew less in the high- than in the low-density treatment, showing that plants competed. There was no interactive effect of nutrient heterogeneity and plant density, supporting the hypothesis that heterogeneity does not affect intraspecific competition in the absence of genotypic differences in plasticity. Treatments did not affect morphological characteristics such as specific leaf area or root/shoot ratio.
Results indicate that fine-scale, spatial heterogeneity in the availability of soil nutrients does not increase competition when plants are genetically identical, consistent with the suggestion that effects of heterogeneity on competition depend upon differences in plasticity between individuals. Heterogeneity is only likely to increase the spread of monoclonal, invasive populations such as that of A. philoxeroides in China.
Alligator weed; Alternanthera philoxeroides; clonal plant; competition; density effect; intraspecific interaction; log response ratio; resource heterogeneity; spatial heterogeneity
Background and Aims
Dendroclimatology is playing an important role in understanding past climatic changes on the Tibetan Plateau. Forests, however, are mainly confined to the eastern Tibetan Plateau. On the central Tibetan Plateau, in contrast, shrubs and dwarf shrubs need to be studied instead of trees as a source of climate information. The objectives of this study were to check the dendrochronological potential of the dwarf shrub Wilson juniper (Juniperus pingii var. wilsonii) growing from 4740 to 4780 m a.s.l. and to identify the climatic factors controlling its radial growth.
Forty-three discs from 33 stems of Wilson juniper were sampled near the north-eastern shore of the Nam Co (Heavenly Lake). Cross-dating was performed along two directions of each stem, avoiding the compression-wood side as far as possible. A ring-width chronology was developed after a negative exponential function or a straight line of any slope had been fit to the raw measurements. Then, correlations were calculated between the standard ring-width chronology and monthly climate data recorded by a weather station around 100 km away.
Our study has shown high dendrochronological potential of Wilson juniper, based on its longevity (one individual was 324 years old), well-defined growth rings, reliable cross-dating between individuals and distinct climatic signals reflected by the ring-width variability. Unlike dwarf shrubs in the circum-arctic tundra ecosystem which positively responded to above-average temperature in the growing season, moisture turned out to be growth limiting for Wilson juniper, particularly the loss of moisture caused by high maximum temperatures in May–June.
Because of the wide distribution of shrub and dwarf shrub species on the central Tibetan Plateau, an exciting prospect was opened up to extend the presently existing tree-ring networks far up into one of the largest tundra regions of the world.
Central Tibetan Plateau; high altitude; Juniperus pingii var. wilsonii; dwarf shrub; cross-dating; dendrochronology; dendroclimatology; growth ring; tree ring; growth-limiting factor; climate proxy
Background and Aims
Seeds can accumulate in the soil or elsewhere, such as on the stems of palms when these are covered by persistent sheaths. These sheaths could act as a safe site for some species. Here, we studied whether persistent sheaths of the palm Attalea phalerata (Arecaceae) are available sites for seed accumulation in the Pantanal wetland of Brazil. We also investigated whether the composition, richness and diversity of species of seeds in the persistent sheaths are determined by habitat (riparian forest and forest patches) and/or season (wet and dry).
All accumulated material was collected from ten persistent sheaths along the stems of 64 A. phalerata individuals (16 per habitat and 16 per season). The material was then individually inspected under a stereomicroscope to record seed species and number.
Of the 640 sheaths sampled, 65 % contained seeds (n = 3468). This seed bank included 75 species belonging to 12 families, and was primarily composed of small, endozoochoric seeds, with a few abundant species (Cecropia pachystachya and Ficus pertusa). Moraceae was the richest family (four species) and Urticaceae the most abundant (1594 seeds). Stems of A. phalerata in the riparian forest had 1·8 times more seeds and 1·3 times more species than those in forest patches. In the wet season we sampled 4·1 times more seeds and 2·2 more species on palm stems than in the dry season. Richness did not differ between habitats, but was higher in the wet season. Abundance was higher in forest patches and in the wet season.
Attalea phalerata stems contain a rich seed bank, comparable to soil seed banks of tropical forests. As most of these seeds are not adapted to grow in flooding conditions, palm stems might be regarded as safe sites for seeds (and seedlings) to escape from the seasonal flooding of the Pantanal.
Attalea phalerata; Cecropia pachystachya; Ficus; hemi-epiphyte; palm tree; palm seed bank; phorophyte; seed community; seed dispersal; Pantanal wetland; Brazil
Background and Aims
During the transition from endo-dormancy to eco-dormancy and subsequent growth, the onion bulb undergoes the transition from sink organ to source, to sustain cell division in the meristematic tissue. The mechanisms controlling these processes are not fully understood. Here, a detailed analysis of whole onion bulb physiological, biochemical and transcriptional changes in response to sprouting is reported, enabling a better knowledge of the mechanisms regulating post-harvest onion sprout development.
Biochemical and physiological analyses were conducted on different cultivars (‘Wellington’, ‘Sherpa’ and ‘Red Baron’) grown at different sites over 3 years, cured at different temperatures (20, 24 and 28 °C) and stored under different regimes (1, 3, 6 and 6 → 1 °C). In addition, the first onion oligonucleotide microarray was developed to determine differential gene expression in onion during curing and storage, so that transcriptional changes could support biochemical and physiological analyses.
There were greater transcriptional differences between samples at harvest and before sprouting than between the samples taken before and after sprouting, with some significant changes occurring during the relatively short curing period. These changes are likely to represent the transition from endo-dormancy to sprout suppression, and suggest that endo-dormancy is a relatively short period ending just after curing. Principal component analysis of biochemical and physiological data identified the ratio of monosaccharides (fructose and glucose) to disaccharide (sucrose), along with the concentration of zeatin riboside, as important factors in discriminating between sprouting and pre-sprouting bulbs.
These detailed analyses provide novel insights into key regulatory triggers for sprout dormancy release in onion bulbs and provide the potential for the development of biochemical or transcriptional markers for sprout initiation. Evidence presented herein also suggests there is no detrimental effect on bulb storage life and quality caused by curing at 20 °C, producing a considerable saving in energy and costs.
Allium cepa; onion; dormancy; eco-dormancy; endo-dormancy; microarray; non-structural carbohydrates; phytohormones; sprout suppression; post-harvest storage
Background and Aims
The biotic and abiotic environment of interacting hosts and parasites may vary considerably over small spatial and temporal scales. It is essential to understand how different environments affect host disease resistance because this determines frequency of disease and, importantly, heterogeneous environments can retard direct selection and potentially maintain genetic variation for resistance in natural populations.
The effect of different temperatures and soil nutrient conditions on the outcome of infection by a pathogen was quantified in Arabidopsis thaliana. Expression levels of a gene conferring resistance to powdery mildews, RPW8, were compared with levels of disease to test a possible mechanism behind variation in resistance.
Most host genotypes changed from susceptible to resistant across environments with the ranking of genotypes differing between treatments. Transcription levels of RPW8 increased after infection and varied between environments, but there was no tight association between transcription and resistance levels.
There is a strong potential for a heterogeneous environment to change the resistance capacity of A. thaliana genotypes and hence the direction and magnitude of selection in the presence of the pathogen. Possible causative links between resistance gene expression and disease resistance are discussed in light of the present results on RPW8.
Genotype × environment interaction; RPW8; Arabidopsis thaliana; Golovinomyces orontii; powdery mildew; qPCR; temperature; plant × pathogen interaction; disease resistance
Background and Aims
To date, most floral nectarins (nectar proteins) are reported to function in nectar defence, particularly for insect-pollinated outcrossing species. We compared nectarin composition and abundance in selfing common tobacco (Nicotiana tobaccum) with outcrossing ornamental tobacco plants to elucidate the functional difference of nectarins in different reproductive systems.
Common tobacco (CT) nectarins were separated by SDS-PAGE and the N terminus of the most abundant nectarin was sequenced via Edman degradation. The full-length nectarin gene was amplified and cloned from genomic DNA and mRNA with hiTail-PCR and RACE (rapid amplification of cDNA ends), and expression patterns were then investigated in different tissues using semi-quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR. Additionally, high-performance liquid chromatography and enzymatic analyses of nectar sugar composition, and other biochemical traits and functions of the novel nectarin were studied.
The most abundant nectarin in CT nectar is an acidic α-galactosidase, here designated NTα-Gal. This compound has a molecular mass of 40 013 Da and a theoretical pI of 5·33. NTα-Gal has a conserved α-Gal characteristic signature, encodes a mature protein of 364 amino acids and is expressed in different organs. Compared with 27 other melliferous plant species from different families, CT floral nectar demonstrated the highest α-Gal activity, which is inhibited by d-galactose. Raffinose family oligosaccharides were not detected in CT nectar, indicating that NTα-Gal does not function in post-secretory hydrolysis. Moreover, tobacco plant fruits did not develop intact skin with galactose inhibition of NTα-Gal activity in nectar, suggesting that NTα-Gal induces cell-wall surface restructuring during the initial stages of fruit development.
α-Gal was the most abundant nectarin in selfing CT plants, but was not detected in the nectar of strictly outcrossing sister tobacco species. No function was demonstrated in antimicrobial defence. Therefore, floral nectarins in selfing species maintain their functional significance in reproductive organ development.
α-galactosidase; Nicotiana tobacum; floral nectar; enzymatic activity; selfing syndrome
Background and Aims
One of the key targets of breeding programmes in rapeseed (Brassica napus) is to develop high-yield varieties. However, the lack of available phosphorus (P) in soils seriously limits rapeseed production. The aim of this study was to dissect the genetic control of seed yield and yield-related traits in B. napus grown with contrasting P supplies.
Two-year field trials were conducted at one site with normal and low P treatments using a population of 124 recombinant inbred lines derived from a cross between ‘B104-2’ and ‘Eyou Changjia’. Seed yield, seed weight, seed number, pod number, plant height, branch number and P efficiency coefficient (PEC) were investigated. Quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis was performed by composite interval mapping.
The phenotypic values of most of the tested traits were reduced under the low P conditions. In total, 74 putative QTLs were identified, contributing 7·3–25·4 % of the phenotypic variation. Of these QTLs, 16 (21·6 %) were detected in two seasons and in the mean value of two seasons, and eight QTLs for two traits were conserved across P levels. Low-P-specific QTLs were clustered on chromosomes A1, A6 and A8. By comparative mapping between Arabidopsis and B. napus, 161 orthologues of 146 genes involved in Arabidopsis P homeostasis and/or yield-related trait control were associated with 45 QTLs corresponding to 23 chromosomal regions. Four gene-based markers developed from genes involved in Arabidopsis P homeostasis were mapped to QTL intervals.
Different genetic determinants were involved in controlling seed yield and yield-related traits in B. napus under normal and low P conditions. The QTLs detected under reduced P supply may provide useful information for improving the seed yield of B. napus in soils with low P availability in marker-assisted selection.
Brassica napus; phosphorus deficiency; phosphorus use efficiency; recombinant inbred line; seed yield; quantitative trait locus; comparative mapping
Background and Aims
Pollen-collecting bees are among the most important pollinators globally, but are also the most common pollen thieves and can significantly reduce plant reproduction. The pollination efficiency of pollen collectors depends on the frequency of their visits to female(-phase) flowers, contact with stigmas and deposition of pollen of sufficient quantity and quality to fertilize ovules. Here we investigate the relative importance of these components, and the hypothesis that floral and inflorescence characteristics mediate the pollination role of pollen collection by bees.
For ten Aloe species that differ extensively in floral and inflorescence traits, we experimentally excluded potential bird pollinators to quantify the contributions of insect visitors to pollen removal, pollen deposition and seed production. We measured corolla width and depth to determine nectar accessibility, and the phenology of anther dehiscence and stigma receptivity to quantify herkogamy and dichogamy. Further, we compiled all published bird-exclusion studies of aloes, and compared insect pollination success with floral morphology.
Species varied from exclusively insect pollinated, to exclusively bird pollinated but subject to extensive pollen theft by insects. Nectar inaccessibility and strong dichogamy inhibited pollination by pollen-collecting bees by discouraging visits to female-phase (i.e. pollenless) flowers. For species with large inflorescences of pollen-rich flowers, pollen collectors successfully deposited pollen, but of such low quality (probably self-pollen) that they made almost no contribution to seed set. Indeed, considering all published bird-exclusion studies (17 species in total), insect pollination efficiency varied significantly with floral shape.
Species-specific floral and inflorescence characteristics, especially nectar accessibility and dichogamy, control the efficiency of pollen-collecting bees as pollinators of aloes.
Pollen theft; pollination efficiency; dichogamy; floral morphology; Aloe; Alooideae; Xanthorrhoeaceae; Asphodeloideae
Background and Aims
Hybrid proline-rich proteins (HyPRPs) represent a large family of putative cell-wall proteins characterized by the presence of a variable N-terminal domain and a conserved C-terminal domain that is related to non-specific lipid transfer proteins. The function of HyPRPs remains unclear, but their widespread occurrence and abundant expression patterns indicate that they may be involved in a basic cellular process.
To elucidate the cellular function of HyPRPs, we modulated the expression of three HyPRP genes in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) BY-2 cell lines and in potato (Solanum tuberosum) plants.
In BY-2 lines, over-expression of the three HyPRP genes with different types of N-terminal domains resulted in similar phenotypic changes, namely increased cell elongation, both in suspension culture and on solid media where the over-expression resulted in enhanced calli size. The over-expressing cells showed increased plasmolysis in a hypertonic mannitol solution and accelerated rate of protoplast release, suggesting loosening of the cell walls. In contrast to BY-2 lines, no phenotypic changes were observed in potato plants over-expressing the same or analogous HyPRP genes, presumably due to more complex compensatory mechanisms in planta.
Based on the results from BY-2 lines, we propose that HyPRPs, more specifically their C-terminal domains, represent a novel group of proteins involved in cell expansion.
Cell extension; cell wall loosening; cell wall protein; hybrid proline-rich proteins; HyPRP; lipid transfer proteins; LTP; potato; Solanum tuberosum; tobacco; Nicotiana tabacum; BY-2 cell line
Background and Aim
Anagenesis (also known as phyletic speciation) is an important process of speciation in endemic species of oceanic islands. We investigated genetic variation in Acer okamotoanum, an anagenetically derived species endemic to Ullung Island, South Korea, to infer genetic consequences of anagenesis in comparison with other groups that have undergone cladogenesis (and adaptive radiation).
We examined genetic variation based on eight polymorphic microsatellite markers from 145 individuals of A. okamotoanum and 134 individuals of its putative progenitor A. mono. We employed standard population genetic analyses, clustering analyses, Bayesian clustering analyses in STRUCTURE and bottleneck analyses.
Based on both the Neighbor–Joining tree and Bayesian clustering analyses, clear genetic distinctions were found between the two species. Genetic diversity in terms of allelic richness and heterozygosity shows slightly lower levels in A. okamotoanum in comparison with A. mono. Bayesian clustering analyses showed a relatively high F-value in the cluster of A. okamotoanum, suggesting a strong episode of genetic drift during colonization and speciation. There was no clear evidence of a bottleneck based on allelic frequency distribution and excess of observed heterozygotes, but the M-ratio indicated a historical bottleneck in several populations of A. okamotoanum. No geographical genetic structure within the island was found, and the genetic variation among populations of A. okamotoanum was quite low.
We hypothesized that genetic consequences of oceanic-endemic plants derived via anagenesis would be quite different from those derived via cladogenesis. Populations of A. okamotoanum form a cluster and are clearly differentiated from A. mono, which suggests a single origin for the anagenetically derived island endemic. No pattern of geographical differentiation of populations occurs in A. okamotoanum, which supports the concept of initial founder populations diverging through time by accumulation of mutations in a relatively uniform environment without further specific differentiation.
Acer okamotoanum; Acer mono; adaptive radiation; anagenesis; cladogenesis; microsatellites; oceanic island; phyletic speciation; population genetics; Ullung Island
Background and Aims
Grevillea rhizomatosa is a spreading shrub which exhibits multiple breeding strategies within a narrow area in the fire-prone heathlands of eastern Australia. Reproductive strategies include self-compatibility, self-incompatibility and clonality (with and without sterility). The close proximity of contrasting breeding systems provides an opportunity to explore the evolution of sterility and to compare and contrast the origins of genotypic diversity (recombinant or somatic) against degrees of sexual expression.
ISSR markers for 120 band positions (putative loci) were used to compare genetic diversity among five populations at a macro-scale of 5 m between samples (n = 244 shrubs), and at a micro-scale of nearest neighbours for all plants in five 25-m2 quadrats with contrasting fertilities (n = 162 shrubs). Nearest-neighbour sampling included several clusters of connected ramets. Matrix incompatibility (MIC) analyses were used to evaluate the relative contribution of recombination and somatic mutation to genotype diversity.
High levels of genotypic diversity were found in all populations regardless of fertilities (fertile populations, G/N ≥ 0·94; sterile populations, G/N ≥ 0·97) and most sterile populations had a unique genetic profile. Somatic mutations were detected along connected ramets in ten out of 42 ramet clusters. MIC analyses showed that somatic mutations have contributed to diversity in all populations and particularly so in sterile populations.
Somatic mutations contribute significantly to gene diversity in sterile populations of Grevillea rhizomatosa, the accumulation of which is the likely cause of male and female sterility. High levels of genetic diversity therefore may not always be synonymous with sexual fitness and genetic health. We hypothesize that frequent fires drive selection for clonal reproduction, at the cost of flowering such that sexual functions are not maintained through selection, and the build-up of somatic mutations in meristems results in high genotype diversity at the cost of pollen and ovule fertilities.
Clone diversity; ISSR; matrix incompatibility; multiple breeding strategies; sterility; Grevillea rhizomatosa; somatic mutations
• Background and Aims Mixed reproductive strategies may have evolved as a response of plants to cope with environmental variation. One example of a mixed reproductive strategy is dimorphic cleistogamy, where a single plant produces closed, obligately self-pollinated (CL) flowers and open, potentially outcrossed (CH) flowers. Frequently, optimal environmental conditions favour production of more costly CH structures whilst economical and reliable CL structures are produced under less favourable conditions. In this study we explore (1) the effect of light and water on the reproductive phenology and (2) the effect of pollen supplementation on resource allocation to seeds in the cleistogamous weed Ruellia nudiflora.
• Methods Split-plot field experiments were carried out to assess the effect of shade (two levels: ambient light vs. a reduction of 50 %) and watering (two levels: non-watered vs. watered) on the onset, end and duration of the production of three reproductive structures: CH flowers, CH fruit and CL fruit. We also looked at the effect of these environmental factors on biomass allocation to seeds (seed weight) from obligately self-pollinated flowers (CL), open-pollinated CH flowers and pollen-supplemented CH flowers.
• Key Results CH structures were produced for a briefer period and ended earlier under shaded conditions. These conditions also resulted in an earlier production of CL fruit. Shaded conditions also produced greater biomass allocation to CH seeds receiving extra pollen.
• Conclusions Sub-optimal (shaded) conditions resulted in a briefer production period of CH structures whilst these same conditions resulted in an earlier production of CL structures. However, under sub-optimal conditions, plants also allocated more resources to seeds sired from CH flowers receiving large pollen loads. Earlier production of reproductive structures and relatively larger seed might improve subsequent success of CL and pollen-supplemented CH seeds, respectively.
Cleistogamy; invasive plants; phenology; pollen supplementation; resource allocation; Ruellia nudiflora