Divergence of the Floral A-Function between an Asterid and a Rosid Species

Divergence of the Floral A-Function between an Asterid and a Rosid Species

Tue, 22/08/2017


Publication in The Plant Cell

Mutant Petunia. Photos M. Vandenbussche
The ABC model is widely used as a genetic framework for understanding floral development and evolution. In this model, the A-function is required for the development of sepals and petals and to antagonize the C-function in the outer floral whorls. In the rosid species Arabidopsis thaliana, the AP2-type AP2 transcription factor represents a major A-function protein, but how the A-function is encoded in other species is not well understood. Here, we show that in the asterid species petunia (Petunia hybrida), AP2B/BLIND ENHANCER (BEN) confines the C-function to the inner petunia floral whorls, in parallel with the microRNA BLIND. BEN belongs to the TOE-type AP2 gene family, members of which control flowering time in Arabidopsis.
In turn, we demonstrate that the petunia AP2-type REPRESSOR OF B-FUNCTION (ROB) genes repress the B-function (but not the C-function) in the first floral whorl, together with BEN. We propose a combinatorial model for patterning the B- and C-functions, leading to the homeotic conversion of sepals into petals, carpels, or stamens, depending on the genetic context. Combined with earlier results, our findings suggest that the molecular mechanisms controlling the spatial restriction of the floral organ identity genes are more diverse than the well-conserved B and C floral organ identity functions.

petunias-normale-vs-mutante_1500293180053-jpgLeft : a normal Petunia. Right : a mutant Petunia.

The team "Evolution et Développement de la fleur", of the RDP published their results in the July issue of The Plant Cell.
References: Patrice Morel, Klaas Heijmans, Frederique Rozier, Jan Zethof, Sophy Chamot, Suzanne Rodrigues Bento, Aurelie Vialette-Guiraud, Pierre Chambrier, Trehin Christophe, Michiel Vandenbussche, "Divergence of the floral A-function between an Asterid and a Rosid Specie" - The Plant Cell doi.org/10.1105/tpc.17.00098