Separation of shoot and floral identity in Arabidopsis.
The overall morphology of an Arabidopsis plant depends on the behaviour of its meristems. Meristems derived from the shoot apex can develop into either shoots or flowers. The distinction between these alternative fates requires separation between the function of floral meristem identity genes and the function of an antagonistic group of genes, which includes TERMINAL FLOWER 1. We show that the activities of these genes are restricted to separate domains of the shoot apex by different mechanisms. Meristem identity genes, such as LEAFY, APETALA 1 and CAULIFLOWER, prevent TERMINAL FLOWER 1 transcription in floral meristems on the apex periphery. TERMINAL FLOWER 1, in turn, can inhibit the activity of meristem identity genes at the centre of the shoot apex in two ways; first by delaying their upregulation, and second, by preventing the meristem from responding to LEAFY or APETALA 1. We suggest that the wild-type pattern of TERMINAL FLOWER 1 and floral meristem identity gene expression depends on the relative timing of their upregulation. (+info)
UCP4, a novel brain-specific mitochondrial protein that reduces membrane potential in mammalian cells.
Uncoupling proteins (UCPs) are a family of mitochondrial transporter proteins that have been implicated in thermoregulatory heat production and maintenance of the basal metabolic rate. We have identified and partially characterized a novel member of the human uncoupling protein family, termed uncoupling protein-4 (UCP4). Protein sequence analyses showed that UCP4 is most related to UCP3 and possesses features characteristic of mitochondrial transporter proteins. Unlike other known UCPs, UCP4 transcripts are exclusively expressed in both fetal and adult brain tissues. UCP4 maps to human chromosome 6p11.2-q12. Consistent with its potential role as an uncoupling protein, UCP4 is localized to the mitochondria and its ectopic expression in mammalian cells reduces mitochondrial membrane potential. These findings suggest that UCP4 may be involved in thermoregulatory heat production and metabolism in the brain. (+info)
Patterns of evolutionary rate variation among genes of the anthocyanin biosynthetic pathway.
The anthocyanin biosynthetic pathway is responsible for the production of anthocyanin pigments in plant tissues and shares a number of enzymes with other biochemical pathways. The six core structural genes of this pathway have been cloned and characterized in two taxonomically diverse plant species (maize and snapdragon). We have recently cloned these genes for a third species, the common morning glory, Ipomoea purpurea. This additional information provides an opportunity to examine patterns of evolution among genes within a single biochemical pathway. We report here that upstream genes in the anthocyanin pathway have evolved substantially more slowly than downstream genes and suggest that this difference in evolutionary rates may be explained by upstream genes being more constrained because they participate in several different biochemical pathways. In addition, regulatory genes associated with the anthocyanin pathway tend to evolve more rapidly than the structural genes they regulate, suggesting that adaptive evolution of flower color may be mediated more by regulatory than by structural genes. Finally, for individual anthocyanin genes, we found an absence of rate heterogeneity among three major angiosperm lineages. This rate constancy contrasts with an accelerated rate of evolution of three CHS-like genes in the Ipomoea lineage, indicating that these three genes have diverged without coordinated adjustment by other pathway genes. (+info)
The origin and evolution of green algal and plant actins.
The Viridiplantae are subdivided into two groups: the Chlorophyta, which includes the Chlorophyceae, Trebouxiophyceae, Ulvophyceae, and Prasinophyceae; and the Streptophyta, which includes the Charophyceae and all land plants. Within the Streptophyta, the actin genes of the angiosperms diverge nearly simultaneously from each other before the separation of monocots and dicots. Previous evolutionary analyses have provided limited insights into the gene duplications that have produced these complex gene families. We address the origin and diversification of land plant actin genes by studying the phylogeny of actins within the green algae, ferns, and fern allies. Partial genomic sequences or cDNAs encoding actin were characterized from Cosmarium botrytis (Zygnematales), Selaginella apoda (Selaginellales), Anemia phyllitidis (Polypodiales), and Psilotum triquetrum (Psilotales). Selaginella contains at least two actin genes. One sequence (Ac2) diverges within a group of fern sequences that also includes the Psilotum Ac1 actin gene and one gymnosperm sequence (Cycas revoluta Cyc3). This clade is positioned outside of the angiosperm actin gene radiation. The second Selaginella sequence (Ac1) is the sister to all remaining land plant actin sequences, although the internal branches in this portion of the tree are very short. Use of complete actin-coding regions in phylogenetic analyses provides support for the separation of angiosperm actins into two classes. N-terminal "signature" sequence analyses support these groupings. One class (VEG) includes actin genes that are often expressed in vegetative structures. The second class (REP) includes actin genes that trace their ancestry within the vegetative actins and contains members that are largely expressed in reproductive structures. Analysis of intron positions within actin genes shows that sequences from both Selaginella and Cosmarium contain the conserved 20-3, 152-1, and 356-3 introns found in many members of the Streptophyta. In addition, the Cosmarium actin gene contains a novel intron at position 76-1. (+info)
Temporal and multiple quantitative trait loci analyses of resistance to bacterial wilt in tomato permit the resolution of linked loci.
Ralstonia solanacearum is a soil-borne bacterium that causes the serious disease known as bacterial wilt in many plant species. In tomato, several QTL controlling resistance have been found, but in different studies, markers spanning a large region of chromosome 6 showed strong association with the resistance. By using two different approaches to analyze the data from a field test F3 population, we show that at least two separate loci approximately 30 cM apart on this chromosome are most likely involved in the resistance. First, a temporal analysis of the progression of symptoms reveals a distal locus early in the development of the disease. As the disease progresses, the maximum LOD peak observed shifts toward the proximal end of the chromosome, obscuring the distal locus. Second, although classical interval mapping could only detect the presence of one locus, a statistical "two-QTL model" test, specifically adapted for the resolution of linked QTL, strongly supported the hypothesis for the presence of two loci. These results are discussed in the context of current molecular knowledge about disease resistance genes on chromosome 6 and observations made by tomato breeders during the production of bacterial wilt-resistant varieties. (+info)
Sexual dimorphism in white campion: complex control of carpel number is revealed by y chromosome deletions.
Sexual dimorphism in the dioecious plant white campion (Silene latifolia = Melandrium album) is under the control of two main regions on the Y chromosome. One such region, encoding the gynoecium-suppressing function (GSF), is responsible for the arrest of carpel initiation in male flowers. To generate chromosomal deletions, we used pollen irradiation in male plants to produce hermaphroditic mutants (bsx mutants) in which carpel development was restored. The mutants resulted from alterations in at least two GSF chromosomal regions, one autosomal and one located on the distal half of the (p)-arm of the Y chromosome. The two mutations affected carpel development independently, each mutation showing incomplete penetrance and variegation, albeit at significantly different levels. During successive meiotic generations, a progressive increase in penetrance and a reduction in variegation levels were observed and quantified at the level of the Y-linked GSF (GSF-Y). Possible mechanisms are proposed to explain the behavior of the bsx mutations: epigenetic regulation or/and second-site mutation of modifier genes. In addition, studies on the inheritance of the hermaphroditic trait showed that, unlike wild-type Y chromosomes, deleted Y chromosomes can be transmitted through both the male and the female lines. Altogether, these findings bring experimental support, on the one hand, to the existence on the Y chromosome of genic meiotic drive function(s) and, on the other hand, to models that consider that dioecy evolved through multiple mutation events. As such, the GSF is actually a system containing more than one locus and whose primary component is located on the Y chromosome. (+info)
Sexual dimorphism in white campion: deletion on the Y chromosome results in a floral asexual phenotype.
White campion is a dioecious plant with heteromorphic X and Y sex chromosomes. In male plants, a filamentous structure replaces the pistil, while in female plants the stamens degenerate early in flower development. Asexual (asx) mutants, cumulating the two developmental defects that characterize the sexual dimorphism in this species, were produced by gamma ray irradiation of pollen and screening in the M1 generation. The mutants harbor a novel type of mutation affecting an early function in sporogenous/parietal cell differentiation within the anther. The function is called stamen-promoting function (SPF). The mutants are shown to result from interstitial deletions on the Y chromosome. We present evidence that such deletions tentatively cover the central domain on the (p)-arm of the Y chromosome (Y2 region). By comparing stamen development in wild-type female and asx mutant flowers we show that they share the same block in anther development, which results in the production of vestigial anthers. The data suggest that the SPF, a key function(s) controlling the sporogenous/parietal specialization in premeiotic anthers, is genuinely missing in females (XX constitution). We argue that this is the earliest function in the male program that is Y-linked and is likely responsible for "male dimorphism" (sexual dimorphism in the third floral whorl) in white campion. More generally, the reported results improve our knowledge of the structural and functional organization of the Y chromosome and favor the view that sex determination in this species results primarily from a trigger signal on the Y chromosome (Y1 region) that suppresses female development. The default state is therefore the ancestral hermaphroditic state. (+info)
Novel genes induced during an arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis formed between Medicago truncatula and Glomus versiforme.
Many terrestrial plant species are able to form symbiotic associations with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Here we have identified three cDNA clones representing genes whose expression is induced during the arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis formed between Medicago truncatula and an arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus, Glomus versiforme. The three clones represent M. truncatula genes and encode novel proteins: a xyloglucan endotransglycosylase-related protein, a putative arabinogalactan protein (AGP), and a putative homologue of the mammalian p110 subunit of initiation factor 3 (eIF3). These genes show little or no expression in M. truncatula roots prior to formation of the symbiosis and are significantly induced following colonization by G. versiforme. The genes are not induced in roots in response to increases in phosphate. This suggests that induction of expression during the symbiosis is due to the interaction with the fungus and is not a secondary effect of improved phosphate nutrition. In situ hybridization revealed that the putative AGP is expressed specifically in cortical cells containing arbuscules. The identification of two mycorrhiza-induced genes encoding proteins predicted to be involved in cell wall structure is consistent with previous electron microscopy data that indicated major alterations in the extracellular matrix of the cortical cells following colonization by mycorrhizal fungi. (+info)