A Light-Regulated Genetic Module Was Recruited to Carpel Development in Arabidopsis following a Structural Change to SPATULA Article - Juillet 2012

Matthieu Reymond, Geraldine Brunoud, Aurélie Chauvet, Jaime F. Martinez-Garcia, Marie-Laure Magniette, Françoise Monéger, C.P. Scutt

Matthieu Reymond, Geraldine Brunoud, Aurélie Chauvet, Jaime F. Martinez-Garcia, Marie-Laure Magniette, Françoise Monéger, C.P. Scutt, « A Light-Regulated Genetic Module Was Recruited to Carpel Development in Arabidopsis following a Structural Change to SPATULA  », The Plant cell, juillet 2012, pp. 2812 - 2825. ISSN 1040-4651

Abstract

A key innovation of flowering plants is the female reproductive organ, the carpel. Here, we show that a mechanism that regulates carpel margin development in the model flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana was recruited from light-regulated processes. This recruitment followed the loss from the basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor SPATULA (SPT) of a domain previously responsible for its negative regulation by phytochrome. We propose that the loss of this domain was a prerequisite for the light-independent expression in female reproductive tissues of a genetic module that also promotes shade avoidance responses in vegetative organs. Striking evidence for this proposition is provided by the restoration of wild-type carpel development to spt mutants by low red/far-red light ratios, simulating vegetation shade, which we show to occur via phytochrome B, PHYTOCHROME INTERACTING FACTOR4 (PIF4), and PIF5. Our data illustrate the potential of modular evolutionary events to generate rapid morphological change and thereby provide a molecular basis for neo-Darwinian theories that describe this nongradualist phenomenon. Furthermore, the effects shown here of light quality perception on carpel development lead us to speculate on the potential role of light-regulated mechanisms in plant organs that, like the carpel, form within the shade of surrounding tissues.

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