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Publikationen - Molekulare Signalverarbeitung

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Drost, H.-G., Bellstädt, J., Ó'Maoiléidigh, D. S., Silva, A. T., Gabel, A., Weinholdt, C., Ryan, P. T., Dekkers, B. J. W., Bentsink, L., Hilhorst, H. W. M., Ligterink, W., Wellmer, F., Grosse, I. & Quint, M. Post-embryonic Hourglass Patterns Mark Ontogenetic Transitions in Plant Development Mol Biol Evol 33, 1158-1163, (2016) DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msw039

The historic developmental hourglass concept depicts the convergence of animal embryos to a common form during the phylotypic period. Recently, it has been shown that a transcriptomic hourglass is associated with this morphological pattern, consistent with the idea of underlying selective constraints due to intense molecular interactions during body plan establishment. Although plants do not exhibit a morphological hourglass during embryogenesis, a transcriptomic hourglass has nevertheless been identified in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Here, we investigated whether plant hourglass patterns are also found postembryonically. We found that the two main phase changes during the life cycle of Arabidopsis, from embryonic to vegetative and from vegetative to reproductive development, are associated with transcriptomic hourglass patterns. In contrast, flower development, a process dominated by organ formation, is not. This suggests that plant hourglass patterns are decoupled from organogenesis and body plan establishment. Instead, they may reflect general transitions through organizational checkpoints. 


Drost, H.-G., Gabel, A., Grosse, I. & Quint, M. Evidence for Active Maintenance of Phylotranscriptomic Hourglass Patterns in Animal and Plant Embryogenesis Mol Biol Evol 32, 1221-1231, (2015) DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msv012

The developmental hourglass model has been used to describe the morphological transitions of related species throughout embryogenesis. Recently, quantifiable approaches combining transcriptomic and evolutionary information provided novel evidence for the presence of a phylotranscriptomic hourglass pattern across kingdoms. As its biological function is unknown it remains speculative whether this pattern is functional or merely represents a nonfunctional evolutionary relic. The latter would seriously hamper future experimental approaches designed to test hypotheses regarding its function. Here, we address this question by generating transcriptome divergence index (TDI) profiles across embryogenesis of Danio rerio, Drosophila melanogaster, and Arabidopsis thaliana. To enable meaningful evaluation of the resulting patterns, we develop a statistical test that specifically assesses potential hourglass patterns. Based on this objective measure we find that two of these profiles follow a statistically significant hourglass pattern with the most conserved transcriptomes in the phylotypic periods. As the TDI considers only recent evolutionary signals, this indicates that the phylotranscriptomic hourglass pattern is not a rudiment but possibly actively maintained, implicating the existence of some linked biological function associated with embryogenesis in extant species.


Costa, C.T., Strieder, M.L., Abel, S. & Delatorre, C.A. Phosphorus and nitrogen interaction: loss of QC identity in response to P or N limitation is anticipated in the pdr23 mutant Braz J Plant Physiol 23(3), 219-229, (2011)

Changes in root architecture are an important adaptive strategy used by plants in response to limited nutrient availability to increase the odds of acquiring them. The quiescent center (QC) plays an important role by altering the meristem activity causing differentiation and therefore, inducing a determinate growth program. The arabidopsis mutant pdr23 presents primary short root in the presence of nitrate and is inefficient in the use of nucleic acids as a source of phosphorus. In this study the effect of the pdr23 mutation on the QC maintenance under low phosphorus (P) and/or nitrogen is evaluated. QC identity is maintained in wild-type in the absence of nitrate and/or phosphate if nucleic acids can be used as an alternative source of these nutrients, but not in pdr23. The mutant is not able to use nucleic acids efficiently for substitute Pi, determinate growth is observed, similar to wild-type in the total absence of P. In the absence of N pdr23 loses the expression of QC identity marker earlier than wild-type, indicating that not only the response to P is altered, but also to N. The data suggest that the mutation affects a gene involved either in the crosstalk between these nutrients or in a pathway shared by both nutrients limitation response. Moreover loss of QC identity is also observed in wild-type in the absence of N at longer limitation. Less drastic symptoms are observed in lateral roots of both genotypes.
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