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Functional analyses of AGAMOUS family members in Nicotiana benthamiana clarify the evolution of early and late roles of C-function genes in eudicots

By Chloe Fourquin and Cristina Ferrandiz Maestre


[EN] The C-function, according to the ABC model of floral organ identity, is required for stamen and carpel development and to provide floral meristem determinacy. Members of the AG lineage of the large MADS box gene family specify the C-function in a broadly conserved manner in angiosperms. In core eudicots, two sub-lineages co-exist, euAG and PLE, which have been extensively characterized in Antirrhinum majus and Arabidopsis thaliana, where strong sub-functionalization has led to highly divergent contributions of the respective paralogs to the C-function. Various scenarios have been proposed to reconstruct the evolutionary history of the euAG and PLE lineages in eudicots, but detailed functional analyses of the roles of these genes in additional representative species to validate evolutionary hypotheses are scarce. Here, we report functional characterization of euAG- and PLE-like genes in Nicotiana benthamiana through expression analyses and phenotypic characterization of the defects caused by their specific down-regulation. We show that both paralogs redundantly contribute to the C-function in this species, providing insights on the likely evolution of these gene lineages following divergence of the major groups within the eudicots (rosids and asterids). Moreover, we have demonstrated a conserved role for the PLE-like genes in controlling fruit dehiscence, which strongly supports the ancestral role of PLE-like genes in late fruit development and suggests a common evolutionary origin of late developmental processes in dry (dehiscent) and fleshy (ripening) fruits.We thank Rafael Martinez-Pardo and Eugenio Grau for technical support, Amy Litt (New York Botanical Gradens, Bronx, NY, USA) for providing VIGS plasmids, Eugenio Minguet for help with the LFY matrix and Morpheus tool, and Francisco Madueno, Monica Colombo and Barbara Ambrose (NYBG) for critical reading of the manuscript. The work was funded by grant BIO2009-09920 from the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovacion to C.F.Fourquin, C.; Ferrandiz Maestre, C. (2012). Functional analyses of AGAMOUS family members in Nicotiana benthamiana clarify the evolution of early and late roles of C-function genes in eudicots. Plant Journal. 71(6):990-1001. doi:10.1111/j.1365-313X.2012.05046.xS990100171

Topics: C-function, AGAMOUS, SHATTERPROOF, Flower development, Dehiscence, VIGS,, Nicotiana benthamiana, Fruit development
Publisher: 'Wiley'
Year: 2012
DOI identifier: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2012.05046.x
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Provided by: RiuNet
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