Evolutionary Co-option of Floral Meristem Identity Genes for Patterning of the Flower-like Asteraceae Inflorescence

Yafei Zhao, Teng Zhang, Suvi K. Broholm, Sari Tähtiharju, Katriina Mouhu, Victor A Albert, Teemu H. Teeri, Paula Elomaa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

The evolutionary success of Asteraceae, the largest family of flowering plants, has been attributed to the unique inflorescence architecture of the family, which superficially resembles an individual flower. Here, we show that Asteraceae inflorescences (flower heads, or capitula) resemble solitary flowers not only morphologically but also at the molecular level. By conducting functional analyses for orthologs of the flower meristem identity genes LEAFY (LFY) and UNUSUAL FLORAL ORGANS (UFO) in Gerbera hybrida, we show that GhUFO is the master regulator of flower meristem identity, while GhLFY has evolved a novel, homeotic function during the evolution of head-like inflorescences. Resembling LFY expression in a single flower meristem, uniform expression of GhLFY in the inflorescence meristem defines the capitulum as a determinate structure that can assume floral fate upon ectopic GhUFO expression. We also show that GhLFY uniquely regulates the ontogeny of outer, expanded ray flowers but not inner, compact disc flowers, indicating that the distinction of different flower types in Asteraceae is connected with their independent evolutionary origins from separate branching systems.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPlant Physiology
Volume172
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)284-296
Number of pages13
ISSN0032-0889
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 1183 Plant biology, microbiology, virology
  • Asteraceae
  • inflorescence development
  • meristem identity
  • evolution
  • Gerbera

Cite this

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title = "Evolutionary Co-option of Floral Meristem Identity Genes for Patterning of the Flower-like Asteraceae Inflorescence",
abstract = "The evolutionary success of Asteraceae, the largest family of flowering plants, has been attributed to the unique inflorescence architecture of the family, which superficially resembles an individual flower. Here, we show that Asteraceae inflorescences (flower heads, or capitula) resemble solitary flowers not only morphologically but also at the molecular level. By conducting functional analyses for orthologs of the flower meristem identity genes LEAFY (LFY) and UNUSUAL FLORAL ORGANS (UFO) in Gerbera hybrida, we show that GhUFO is the master regulator of flower meristem identity, while GhLFY has evolved a novel, homeotic function during the evolution of head-like inflorescences. Resembling LFY expression in a single flower meristem, uniform expression of GhLFY in the inflorescence meristem defines the capitulum as a determinate structure that can assume floral fate upon ectopic GhUFO expression. We also show that GhLFY uniquely regulates the ontogeny of outer, expanded ray flowers but not inner, compact disc flowers, indicating that the distinction of different flower types in Asteraceae is connected with their independent evolutionary origins from separate branching systems.",
keywords = "1183 Plant biology, microbiology, virology, Asteraceae, inflorescence development, meristem identity, evolution, Gerbera",
author = "Yafei Zhao and Teng Zhang and Broholm, {Suvi K.} and Sari T{\"a}htiharju and Katriina Mouhu and Albert, {Victor A} and Teeri, {Teemu H.} and Paula Elomaa",
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Evolutionary Co-option of Floral Meristem Identity Genes for Patterning of the Flower-like Asteraceae Inflorescence. / Zhao, Yafei; Zhang, Teng; Broholm, Suvi K.; Tähtiharju, Sari; Mouhu, Katriina; Albert, Victor A; Teeri, Teemu H.; Elomaa, Paula .

In: Plant Physiology, Vol. 172, No. 1, 05.07.2016, p. 284-296.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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AU - Zhao, Yafei

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AU - Broholm, Suvi K.

AU - Tähtiharju, Sari

AU - Mouhu, Katriina

AU - Albert, Victor A

AU - Teeri, Teemu H.

AU - Elomaa, Paula

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