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Elena M Kramer – One of the best experts on this subject based on the ideXlab platform.

  • A role for the Auxin Response Factors ARF6 and ARF8 homologs in petal spur elongation and nectary maturation in Aquilegia
    The New phytologist, 2020
    Co-Authors: Rui Zhang, Lynn D. Holappa, Ya Min, Cristina L. Walcher-chevillet, Xiaoshan Duan, Emily Donaldson, Hongzhi Kong, Elena M Kramer

    Abstract:

    The petal spur of the basal eudicot Aquilegia is a key innovation associated with the adaptive radiation of the genus. Previous studies have shown that diversification of Aquilegia spur length can be predominantly attributed to variation in cell elongation. However, the genetic pathways that control the development of petal spurs are still being investigated. Here, we focus on a pair of closely related homologs of the AUXIN RESPONSE FACTOR family, AqARF6 and AqARF8, to explore their roles in Aquileiga coerulea petal spur development. Expression analyses of the two genes show that they are broadly expressed in vegetative and floral organs, but have relatively higher expression in petal spurs, particularly at later stages. Knockdown of the two AqARF6 and AqARF8 transcripts using virus-induced gene silencing resulted in largely petal-specific defects, including a significant reduction in spur length due to a decrease in cell elongation. These spurs also exhibited an absence of nectar production, which was correlated with downregulation of STYLISH homologs that have previously been shown to control nectary development. This study provides the first evidence of ARF6/8 homolog-mediated petal development outside the core eudicots. The genes appear to be specifically required for cell elongation and nectary maturation in the Aquilegia petal spur.

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  • Developmental and molecular characterization of novel staminodes in Aquilegia.
    Annals of botany, 2020
    Co-Authors: Clara Meaders, Ya Min, Katherine J Freedberg, Elena M Kramer

    Abstract:

    BACKGROUND AND AIMS The ranunculid model system Aquilegia is notable for the presence of a fifth type of floral organ, the staminode, which appears to be the result of sterilization and modification of the two innermost whorls of stamens. Previous studies have found that the genetic basis for the identity of this new organ is the result of sub- and neofunctionalization of floral organ identity gene paralogues; however, we do not know the extent of developmental and molecular divergence between stamens and staminodes. METHODS We used histological techniques to describe the development of the Aquilegia coerulea ‘Origami’ staminode relative to the stamen filament. These results have been compared with four other Aquilegia species and the closely related genera Urophysa and SemiAquilegia. As a complement, RNA sequencing has been conducted at two developmental stages to investigate the molecular divergence of the stamen filaments and staminodes in A. coerulea ‘Origami’. KEY RESULTS Our developmental study has revealed novel features of staminode development, most notably a physical interaction along the lateral margin of adjacent organs that appears to mediate their adhesion. In addition, patterns of abaxial/adaxial differentiation are observed in staminodes but not stamen filaments, including asymmetric lignification of the adaxial epidermis in the staminodes. The comparative transcriptomics are consistent with the observed lignification of staminodes and indicate that stamen filaments are radialized due to overexpression of adaxial identity, while the staminodes are expanded due to the balanced presence of abaxial identity. CONCLUSIONS These findings suggest a model in which the novel staminode identity programme interacts with the abaxial/adaxial identity pathways to produce two whorls of laterally expanded organs that are highly differentiated along their abaxial/adaxial axis. While the ecological function of Aquilegia staminodes remains to be determined, these data are consistent with a role in protecting the early carpels from herbivory and/or pathogens.

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  • Aquilegia B gene homologs promote petaloidy of the sepals and maintenance of the C domain boundary.
    EvoDevo, 2017
    Co-Authors: Bharti Sharma, Elena M Kramer

    Abstract:

    The model Aquilegia coerulea x “Origami” possesses several interesting floral features, including petaloid sepals that are morphologically distinct from the true petals and a broad domain containing many whorls of stamens. We undertook the current study in an effort to understand the former trait, but additionally uncovered data that inform on the latter. The Aquilegia B gene homolog AqPI is shown to contribute to the production of anthocyanin in the first whorl sepals, although it has no major role in their morphology. Surprisingly, knockdown of AqPI in Aquilegia coerulea x “Origami” also reveals a role for the B class genes in maintaining the expression of the C gene homolog AqAG1 in the outer whorls of stamens. These findings suggest that the transference of pollinator function to the first whorl sepals included a non-homeotic recruitment of the B class genes to promote aspects of petaloidy. They also confirm results in several other Ranunculales that have revealed an unexpected regulatory connection between the B and C class genes.

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Scott A. Hodges – One of the best experts on this subject based on the ideXlab platform.

  • Spatiotemporal reconstruction of the Aquilegia rapid radiation through next-generation sequencing of rapidly evolving cpDNA regions.
    The New phytologist, 2013
    Co-Authors: Simone Fior, Scott A. Hodges, Bengt Oxelman, Roberto Viola, Lino Ometto, Claudio Varotto

    Abstract:

    Aquilegia is a well-known model system in the field of evolutionary biology, but obtaining a resolved and well-supported phylogenetic reconstruction for the genus has been hindered by its recent and rapid diversification. Here, we applied 454 next-generation sequencing to PCR amplicons of 21 of the most rapidly evolving regions of the plastome to generate c. 24 kb of sequences from each of 84 individuals from throughout the genus. The resulting phylogeny has well-supported resolution of the main lineages of the genus, although recent diversification such as in the European taxa remains unresolved. By producing a chronogram of the whole Ranunculaceae family based on published data, we inferred calibration points for dating the Aquilegia radiation. The genus originated in the upper Miocene c. 6.9 million yr ago (Ma) in Eastern Asia, and diversification occurred c. 4.8 Ma with the split of two main clades, one colonizing North America, and the other Western Eurasia through the mountains of Central Asia. This was followed by a back-to-Asia migration, originating from the European stock using a North Asian route. These results provide the first backbone phylogeny and spatiotemporal reconstruction of the Aquilegia radiation, and constitute a robust framework to address the adaptative nature of speciation within the group.

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  • Evolution of spur-length diversity in Aquilegia petals is achieved solely through cell-shape anisotropy
    Proceedings. Biological sciences, 2011
    Co-Authors: Joshua R. Puzey, Elena M Kramer, Scott A. Hodges, Sharon J. Gerbode, Lakshminarayanan Mahadevan

    Abstract:

    The role of petal spurs and specialized pollinator interactions has been studied since Darwin. Aquilegia petal spurs exhibit striking size and shape diversity, correlated with specialized pollinators ranging from bees to hawkmoths in a textbook example of adaptive radiation. Despite the evolutionary significance of spur length, remarkably little is known about Aquilegia spur morphogenesis and its evolution. Using experimental measurements, both at tissue and cellular levels, combined with numerical modelling, we have investigated the relative roles of cell divisions and cell shape in determining the morphology of the Aquilegia petal spur. Contrary to decades-old hypotheses implicating a discrete meristematic zone as the driver of spur growth, we find that Aquilegia petal spurs develop via anisotropic cell expansion. Furthermore, changes in cell anisotropy account for 99 per cent of the spur-length variation in the genus, suggesting that the true evolutionary innovation underlying the rapid radiation of Aquilegia was the mechanism of tuning cell shape.

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  • Genomic tools development for Aquilegia: construction of a BAC-based physical map
    BMC genomics, 2010
    Co-Authors: Guang-chen Fang, Scott A. Hodges, Barbara P. Blackmon, David C Henry, Margaret Staton, Christopher A. Saski, Jeff Tomkins, Hong Luo

    Abstract:

    Background: The genus Aquilegia, consisting of approximately 70 taxa, is a member of the basal eudicot lineage, Ranuculales, which is evolutionarily intermediate between monocots and core eudicots, and represents a relatively unstudied clade in the angiosperm phylogenetic tree that bridges the gap between these two major plant groups. Aquilegia species are closely related and their distribution covers highly diverse habitats. These provide rich resources to better understand the genetic basis of adaptation to different pollinators and habitats that in turn leads to rapid speciation. To gain insights into the genome structure and facilitate gene identification, comparative genomics and whole-genome shotgun sequencing assembly, BAC-based genomics resources are of crucial importance. Results: BAC-based genomic resources, including two BAC libraries, a physical map with anchored markers and BAC end sequences, were established from A. formosa. The physical map was composed of a total of 50,155 BAC clones in 832 contigs and 3939 singletons, covering 21X genome equivalents. These contigs spanned a physical length of 689.8 Mb (~2.3X of the genome) suggesting the complex heterozygosity of the genome. A set of 197 markers was developed from ESTs induced by drought-stress, or involved in anthocyanin biosynthesis or floral development, and was integrated into the physical map. Among these were 87 genetically mapped markers that anchored 54 contigs, spanning 76.4 Mb (25.5%) across the genome. Analysis of a selection of 12,086 BAC end sequences (BESs) from the minimal tiling path (MTP) allowed a preview of the Aquilegia genome organization, including identification of transposable elements, simple sequence repeats and gene content. Common repetitive elements previously reported in both monocots and core eudicots were identified in Aquilegia suggesting the value of this genome in connecting the two major plant clades. Comparison with sequenced plant genomes indicated a higher similarity to grapevine (Vitis vinifera) than to rice and Arabidopsis in the transcriptomes. Conclusions: The A. formosa BAC-based genomic resources provide valuable tools to study Aquilegia genome. Further integration of other existing genomics resources, such as ESTs, into the physical map should enable better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying adaptive radiation and elaboration of floral morphology.

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Justen B. Whittall – One of the best experts on this subject based on the ideXlab platform.

  • Convergence, constraint and the role of gene expression during adaptive radiation: floral anthocyanins in Aquilegia.
    Molecular ecology, 2006
    Co-Authors: Justen B. Whittall, Claudia Voelckel, Daniel J. Kliebenstein, Scott A. Hodges

    Abstract:

    Convergent phenotypes are testament to the role of natural selection in evolution. However, little is known about whether convergence in phenotype extends to convergence at the molecular level. We use the independent losses of floral anthocyanins in columbines ( Aquilegia ) to determine the degree of molecular convergence in gene expression across the anthocyanin biosynthetic pathway (ABP). Using a phylogeny of the North American Aquilegia clade, we inferred six independent losses of floral anthocyanins. Via semiquantitative reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (RT–PCR), we monitored developmental and tissue-specific variation in expression of the six major structural ABP loci in three Aquilegia species, two that produce anthocyanins (A+) and one that does not (A− ). We then compared ABP expression in petals of old-bud and pre-anthesis flowers of 13 Aquilegia species, eight wild species and two horticultural lines representing seven independent A− lineages as well as three wild A+ species. We only found evidence of down-regulation of ABP loci in A− − − lineages and losses of expression were significantly more prevalent for genes late in the pathway. Independent contrast analysis indicates that changes in expression of dihydroflavonol reductase (DFR) and anthocyanidin synthase (ANS) are strongly phylogenetically correlated consistent with the multilocus targets of trans-regulatory elements in the ABP of other systems. Our findings strongly suggest that pleiotropy constrains the evolution of loss of floral anthocyanins to mutations affecting genes late in the ABP mostly through convergent changes in regulatory genes. These patterns support the hypothesis that rapid evolutionary change occurs largely through regulatory rather than structural mutations.

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  • Verne Grant and evolutionary studies of Aquilegia
    New Phytologist, 2003
    Co-Authors: Scott A. Hodges, Ji Y. Yang, Michelle Fulton, Justen B. Whittall

    Abstract:

    Summary
    One of Verne Grant’s lasting contributions to plant evolutionary biology has been the recognition that differences between plants in floral characters can have a dramatic impact on both pollinator visitation and pollen transfer and thus affect reproductive isolation between nascent plant species (collectively, floral isolation). Here we review some of the concepts and findings from Grant’s work on floral isolation, particularly with respect to the genus Aquilegia (Ranunculaceae). It has now been over 50 yr since Grant first published on the role of floral isolation on reproductive isolation and speciation in Aquilegia and we compare and contrast his findings with our own work on this genus. We find that the data largely support Grant’s findings and that Aquilegia will continue to offer great opportunities to learn about the processes of adaptation and speciation.

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  • Genetics of floral traits influencing reproductive isolation between Aquilegia formosa and Aquilegia pubescens.
    The American naturalist, 2002
    Co-Authors: Scott A. Hodges, Justen B. Whittall, Michelle Fulton, Ji Y. Yang

    Abstract:

    Abstract: Reproductive isolation between Aquilegia formosa and Aquilegia pubescens is influenced by differences in their flowers through their effects on pollinator visitation and pollen transfer. Here, we investigate the genetic basis of floral characters differentiating these species. We found that in addition to the effects of flower orientation and the length of nectar spurs previously described, other characters such as flower color or odor affect hawkmoth visitation. Repeatability of measurements in an F2 population ranged from 0.53 to 0.83 among five floral traits, indicating that using the means of multiple measures per plant will substantially increase the power of a quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis. Integration of floral traits was indicated by significant correlations among traits in an F2 population. In a separate F2 population we found that QTL for different floral traits were often closely associated, indicating that linkage or pleiotropy cause at least some of this integration. In addition, we found QTL for all floral traits examined. Because Aquilegia species are largely interfertile and vary extensively in both floral morphology and ecology, they offer the opportunity for QTL studies of a wide range of characters affecting reproductive isolation.

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