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Keywords:

  • Arabidopsis thaliana;
  • genotype–phenotype association;
  • myrosinase;
  • nucleotide polymorphism;
  • plant defence;
  • selection

Abstract

The Arabidopsis thaliana TGG1 gene encodes thioglucoside glucohydrolase (myrosinase), an enzyme catalysing the hydrolysis of glucosinolate compounds. The enzyme is involved in plant defence against some insect herbivores, and is present in species of the order Capparales (Brassicales). Nucleotide variation was surveyed by sequencing c. 2.4 kb of the TGG1 locus in a sample of 28 worldwide A. thaliana accessions, and one Arabidopsis lyrata ssp. lyrata individual. Myrosinase activity was quantified for 27 of these same A. thaliana accessions, plus five additional others. Overall, estimated nucleotide diversity in A. thaliana was low compared to other published A. thaliana surveys, and the frequency distribution was skewed toward an excess of low-frequency variants. Furthermore, comparison to the outgroup species A. lyrata demonstrated that A. thaliana exhibited an excess of high-frequency derived variants relative to a neutral equilibrium model, suggesting a selective sweep. A. thaliana accessions differed significantly in total myrosinase activity, but analysis of variance detected no statistical evidence for an association between quantitative enzyme activity and alleles at the TGG1 myrosinase-encoding locus. We thus conclude that other, unsurveyed factors primarily affect the observed myrosinase activity levels in this species. The pattern of nucleotide variation was consistent with a model of positive selection but might also be compatible with a completely neutral model that takes into account the metapopulation behaviour of this highly inbreeding species which experienced a relatively recent worldwide expansion.