Abstract: To attract insects, flowers produce nectar, an energy-rich substance secreted by specialized organs called nectaries. For Arabidopsis thaliana, a rosid species with stamen-associated nectaries, the floral B-, C-, and E- functions were proposed to redundantly regulate nectary development. Here we investigated the molecular basis of carpel-associated nectary development in the asterid species Petunia hybrida.
We show that its euAGAMOUS (euAG) and PLENA (PLE) C-lineage MADS-box proteins are essential for nectary development, while their overexpression is sufficient to induce ectopic nectaries on sepals. Furthermore, we demonstrate that Arabidopsis nectary development also fully depends on euAG/PLE C-lineage genes. In turn, we show that petunia nectary development depends on two homologs of CRABS CLAW (CRC), a gene previously shown to be required for Arabidopsis nectary development, and demonstrate that CRC expression in both species depends on the members of both euAG/PLE C-sublineages.
Therefore, petunia and Arabidopsis employ a similar molecular mechanism underlying nectary development, despite otherwise major differences in the evolutionary trajectory of their C-lineage genes, their distant phylogeny and different nectary positioning. However, unlike in Arabidopsis, petunia nectary development is position-independent within the flower. Finally, we show that the TARGET OF EAT (TOE)-type BLIND ENHANCER (BEN) and APETALA2 (AP2)-type REPRESSOR OF B-FUNCTION (ROB) genes act as major regulators of nectary size.
Source: The floral C-lineage Genes Trigger Nectary Development in Petunia and Arabidopsis.Patrice Morel, Klaas Heijmans, Kai Ament, Mathilde Chopy, Christophe Trehin, Pierre Chambrier, Suzanne Rodrigues Bento, Andrea Bimbo, Michiel Vandenbussche. The plant cell, August 2018.