These authors contributed equally to this work.
Diversification and co-option of RAD-like genes in the evolution of floral asymmetry
Article first published online: 2 AUG 2007
The Plant Journal
Volume 52, Issue 1, pages 105–113, October 2007
How to Cite
Baxter, C. E. L., Costa, M. M. R. and Coen, E. S. (2007), Diversification and co-option of RAD-like genes in the evolution of floral asymmetry. The Plant Journal, 52: 105–113. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2007.03222.x
- Issue published online: 2 AUG 2007
- Article first published online: 2 AUG 2007
- Received 20 March 2007; revised 24 May 2007; accepted 31 May 2007.
To understand how changes in gene regulatory networks lead to novel morphologies, we have analysed the evolution of a key target gene, RAD, controlling floral asymmetry. In Antirrhinum, flower asymmetry depends on activation of RAD in dorsal regions of the floral meristem by the upstream regulators CYC and DICH. We show that Arabidopsis, a species with radially symmetric flowers, contains six RAD-like genes, reflecting at least three duplications since the divergence of Antirrhinum and Arabidopsis. Unlike the situation in Antirrhinum, none of the Arabidopsis RAD-like genes are activated in dorsal regions of the flower meristem. Rather, the RAD-like genes are expressed in distinctive domains along radial or ab-adaxial axes, consistent with a range of developmental roles. Introduction of a RAD genomic clone from Antirrhinum into Arabidopsis leads to a novel expression pattern that is distinct from the expression pattern of RAD in Antirrhinum and from the endogenous RAD-like genes of Arabidopsis. Nevertheless, RAD is able to influence developmental targets in Arabidopsis, as ectopic expression of RAD has developmental effects in this species. Taken together, our results suggest that duplication and divergence of RAD-like genes has involved a range of cis- and trans-regulatory changes. It is possible that such changes led to the coupling of RAD to CYC regulation in the Antirrhinum lineage and hence the co-option of RAD had a role in the generation of flower dorsoventral asymmetry.