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  Recruitment of an ancient branching program to suppress carpel development in maize flowers

Klein, H., Gallagher, J., Demesa-Arevalo, E., Abraham-Juárez, M. J., Heeney, M., Feil, R., et al. (2022). Recruitment of an ancient branching program to suppress carpel development in maize flowers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119(2): e2115871119. doi:10.1073/pnas.2115871119.

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Klein, Harry1, Author
Gallagher, Joseph1, Author
Demesa-Arevalo, Edgar1, Author
Abraham-Juárez, María Jazmín1, Author
Heeney, Michelle1, Author
Feil, R.2, Author              
Lunn, J. E.2, Author              
Xiao, Yuguo1, Author
Chuck, George1, Author
Whipple, Clinton1, Author
Jackson, David1, Author
Bartlett, Madelaine1, Author
1external, ou_persistent22              
2System Regulation, Department Stitt, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Max Planck Society, ou_1753327              


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 Abstract: Floral morphology is immensely diverse. One developmental process acting to shape this diversity is growth suppression. For example, grass flowers exhibit extreme diversity in floral sexuality, arising through differential suppression of stamens or carpels. The genes regulating this growth suppression and how they have evolved remain largely unknown. We discovered that two classic developmental genes with ancient roles in controlling vegetative branching were recruited to suppress carpel development in maize. Our results highlight the power of forward genetics to reveal unpredictable genetic interactions and hidden pleiotropy of developmental genes. More broadly, our findings illustrate how ancient gene functions are recruited to new developmental contexts in the evolution of plant form.Carpels in maize undergo programmed cell death in half of the flowers initiated in ears and in all flowers in tassels. The HD-ZIP I transcription factor gene GRASSY TILLERS1 (GT1) is one of only a few genes known to regulate this process. To identify additional regulators of carpel suppression, we performed a gt1 enhancer screen and found a genetic interaction between gt1 and ramosa3 (ra3). RA3 is a classic inflorescence meristem determinacy gene that encodes a trehalose-6-phosphate (T6P) phosphatase (TPP). Dissection of floral development revealed that ra3 single mutants have partially derepressed carpels, whereas gt1;ra3 double mutants have completely derepressed carpels. Surprisingly, gt1 suppresses ra3 inflorescence branching, revealing a role for gt1 in meristem determinacy. Supporting these genetic interactions, GT1 and RA3 proteins colocalize to carpel nuclei in developing flowers. Global expression profiling revealed common genes misregulated in single and double mutant flowers, as well as in derepressed gt1 axillary meristems. Indeed, we found that ra3 enhances gt1 vegetative branching, similar to the roles for the trehalose pathway and GT1 homologs in the eudicots. This functional conservation over ∼160 million years of evolution reveals ancient roles for GT1-like genes and the trehalose pathway in regulating axillary meristem suppression, later recruited to mediate carpel suppression. Our findings expose hidden pleiotropy of classic maize genes and show how an ancient developmental program was redeployed to sculpt floral form.Raw sequencing data are available at the National Center for Biotechnology Information BioProjects (RNA-seq: PRJNA657042; ra3-rzl4 BSA-seq: PRJNA656888); all data underlying the figures are available either in SI Appendix or in Datasets S1 and S2.


Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2022-01-07
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: -
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2115871119
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Title: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  Other : PNAS
  Other : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA
  Abbreviation : Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A.
Source Genre: Journal
Publ. Info: Washington, D.C. : National Academy of Sciences
Pages: e2115871119 Volume / Issue: 119 (2) Sequence Number: e2115871119 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 0027-8424
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925427230