The role of two LEAFY paralogs from Idahoa scapigera (Brassicaceae) in the evolution of a derived plant architecture


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Idahoa scapigera produces solitary flowers in the axils of rosette leaves without elongation of the shoot axis, a rosette-flowering architecture. Previous work with one of the two I. scapigera LFY paralogs, IscLFY1, showed that this gene caused aerial flowering rosettes in Arabidopsis thaliana. In this paper, we report that after three generations IscLFY1 transgenic lines are phenotypically indistinguishable from wild-type Arabidopsis, indicating that IscLFY1 protein is able to replace normal LFY function. Additionally, we found that ectopic LFY expression late in development can phenocopy aspects of the aerial rosette phenotype, suggesting that shoot compression caused by IscLFY1 could be caused by localized overexpression of a functional IscLFY protein. We also characterized the expression and function of the second I. scapigera LFY paralog, IscLFY2, in A. thaliana. In contrast to IscLFY1, this paralog was expressed in floral meristems and the shoot apical meristem (SAM). In I. scapigera, LFY-specific antibodies detected high protein levels in developing flowers but not in the apex, suggesting trans-regulatory differences between I. scapigera and A. thaliana. Most IscLFY2 transgenic A. thaliana plants were indistinguishable from wild type, but in a minority of lines the SAM was converted to a terminal flower as would be expected from the reporter-expression pattern. Taken together these results show that both I. scapigera paralogs have conserved LFY function, both proteins can rescue lfy and both can modify inflorescence architecture in an A. thaliana background: either by affecting internode elongation (IscLFY1) or by causing homeotic conversion of shoots into flowers (IscLFY2).