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Publikation

Anwer, M. U.; Davis, A.; Davis, S. J.; Quint, M. Photoperiod sensing of the circadian clock is controlled by EARLY FLOWERING 3 and GIGANTEA Plant J 101, 1397-1410, (2020) DOI: 10.1111/tpj.14604

ELF3 and GI are two important components of the Arabidopsis circadian clock. They are not only essential for the oscillator function but are also pivotal in mediating light inputs to the oscillator. Lack of either results in a defective oscillator causing severely compromised output pathways, such as photoperiodic flowering and hypocotyl elongation. Although single loss of function mutants of ELF3 and GI have been well‐studied, their genetic interaction remains unclear. We generated an elf3 gi double mutant to study their genetic relationship in clock‐controlled growth and phase transition phenotypes. We found that ELF3 and GI repress growth differentially during the night and the day, respectively. Circadian clock assays revealed that ELF3 and GI are essential Zeitnehmers that enable the oscillator to synchronize the endogenous cellular mechanisms to external environmental signals. In their absence, the circadian oscillator fails to synchronize to the light‐dark cycles even under diurnal conditions. Consequently, clock‐mediated photoperiod‐responsive growth and development are completely lost in plants lacking both genes, suggesting that ELF3 and GI together convey photoperiod sensing to the central oscillator. Since ELF3 and GI are conserved across flowering plants and represent important breeding and domestication targets, our data highlight the possibility of developing photoperiod‐insensitive crops by adjusting the allelic combination of these two key genes.
Preprints

Anwer, M. U.; Davis, A.; Davis, S. J.; Quint, M. Photoperiod sensing of the circadian clock is controlled by EARLY FLOWERING 3 and GIGANTEA bioRxiv (2018) DOI: 10.1101/321794

ELF3 and GI are two important components of the Arabidopsis circadian clock. They are not only essential for the oscillator function but are also pivotal in mediating light inputs to the oscillator. Lack of either results in a defective oscillator causing severely compromised output pathways, such as photoperiodic flowering and hypocotyl elongation. Although single loss of function mutants of ELF3 and GI have been well-studied, their genetic interaction remains unclear. We generated an elf3 gi double mutant to study their genetic relationship in clock-controlled growth and phase transition phenotypes. We found that ELF3 and GI repress growth differentially during the night and the day, respectively. Circadian clock assays revealed that ELF3 and GI are essential Zeitnehmers that enable the oscillator to synchronize the endogenous cellular mechanisms to external environmental signals. In their absence, the circadian oscillator fails to synchronize to the light-dark cycles even under diurnal conditions. Consequently, clock-mediated photoperiod-responsive growth and development is completely lost in plants lacking both genes, suggesting that ELF3 and GI together convey photoperiod sensing to the central oscillator. Since ELF3 and GI are conserved across flowering plants and represent important breeding and domestication targets, our data highlight the possibility of developing photoperiod-insensitive crops by adjusting the allelic combination of these two key genes.
Publikation

Ibañez, C.; Poeschl, Y.; Peterson, T.; Bellstädt, J.; Denk, K.; Gogol-Döring, A.; Quint, M.; Delker, C. Ambient temperature and genotype differentially affect developmental and phenotypic plasticity in Arabidopsis thaliana BMC Plant Biol 17, 114, (2017) DOI: 10.1186/s12870-017-1068-5

BackgroundGlobal increase in ambient temperatures constitute a significant challenge to wild and cultivated plant species. Forward genetic analyses of individual temperature-responsive traits have resulted in the identification of several signaling and response components. However, a comprehensive knowledge about temperature sensitivity of different developmental stages and the contribution of natural variation is still scarce and fragmented at best.ResultsHere, we systematically analyze thermomorphogenesis throughout a complete life cycle in ten natural Arabidopsis thaliana accessions grown under long day conditions in four different temperatures ranging from 16 to 28 °C. We used Q10, GxE, phenotypic divergence and correlation analyses to assess temperature sensitivity and genotype effects of more than 30 morphometric and developmental traits representing five phenotype classes. We found that genotype and temperature differentially affected plant growth and development with variing strengths. Furthermore, overall correlations among phenotypic temperature responses was relatively low which seems to be caused by differential capacities for temperature adaptations of individual accessions.ConclusionGenotype-specific temperature responses may be attractive targets for future forward genetic approaches and accession-specific thermomorphogenesis maps may aid the assessment of functional relevance of known and novel regulatory components.
Publikation

Trenner, J.; Poeschl, Y.; Grau, J.; Gogol-Döring, A.; Quint, M.; Delker, C. Auxin-induced expression divergence between Arabidopsis species may originate within the TIR1/AFB–AUX/IAA–ARF module J Exp Bot 68, 539-552, (2017) DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erw457

Auxin is an essential regulator of plant growth and development, and auxin signaling components are conserved among land plants. Yet, a remarkable degree of natural variation in physiological and transcriptional auxin responses has been described among Arabidopsis thaliana accessions. As intraspecies comparisons offer only limited genetic variation, we here inspect the variation of auxin responses between A. thaliana and A. lyrata. This approach allowed the identification of conserved auxin response genes including novel genes with potential relevance for auxin biology. Furthermore, promoter divergences were analyzed for putative sources of variation. De novo motif discovery identified novel and variants of known elements with potential relevance for auxin responses, emphasizing the complex, and yet elusive, code of element combinations accounting for the diversity in transcriptional auxin responses. Furthermore, network analysis revealed correlations of interspecies differences in the expression of AUX/IAA gene clusters and classic auxin-related genes. We conclude that variation in general transcriptional and physiological auxin responses may originate substantially from functional or transcriptional variations in the TIR1/AFB, AUX/IAA, and ARF signaling network. In that respect, AUX/IAA gene expression divergence potentially reflects differences in the manner in which different species transduce identical auxin signals into gene expression responses.
Preprints

Ibañez, C.; Poeschl, Y.; Peterson, T.; Bellstädt, J.; Denk, K.; Gogol-Döring, A.; Quint, M.; Delker, C. Ambient temperature and genotype differentially affect developmental and phenotypic plasticity in Arabidopsis thaliana bioRxiv (2017) DOI: 10.1101/017285

Background: Global increase in ambient temperatures constitute a significant challenge to wild and cultivated plant species. Forward genetic analyses of individual temperature-responsive traits have resulted in the identification of several signaling and response components. However, a comprehensive knowledge about temperature sensitivity of different developmental stages and the contribution of natural variation is still scarce and fragmented at best. Results: Here, we systematically analyze thermomorphogenesis throughout a complete life cycle in ten natural Arabidopsis thaliana accessions grown in four different temperatures ranging from 16 to 28 °C. We used Q 10 , GxE, phenotypic divergence and correlation analyses to assess temperature sensitivity and genotype effects of more than 30 morphometric and developmental traits representing five phenotype classes. We found that genotype and temperature differentially affected plant growth and development with variing strengths. Furthermore, overall correlations among phenotypic temperature responses was relatively low which seems to be caused by differential capacities for temperature adaptations of individual accessions. Conclusion: Genotype-specific temperature responses may be attractive targets for future forward genetic approaches and accession-specific thermomorphogenesis maps may aid the assessment of functional relevance of known and novel regulatory components.
Publikation

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. 
Preprints

Trenner, J.; Poeschl, Y.; Grau, J.; Gogol-Döring, A.; Quint, M.; Delker, C. Auxin-induced expression divergence between Arabidopsis species likely originates within the TIR1/AFB-AUX/IAA-ARF module bioRxiv (2016) DOI: 10.1101/038422

Auxin is an essential regulator of plant growth and development and auxin signaling components are conserved among land plants. Yet, a remarkable degree of natural variation in physiological and transcriptional auxin responses has been described among Arabidopsis thaliana accessions. As intra-species comparisons offer only limited genetic variation, we here inspect the variation of auxin responses between A. thaliana and A. lyrata. This approach allowed the identification of conserved auxin response genes including novel genes with potential relevance for auxin biology. Furthermore, promoter divergences were analyzed for putative sources of variation. De novo motif discovery identified novel and variants of known elements with potential relevance for auxin responses, emphasizing the complex, and yet elusive, code of element combinations accounting for the diversity in transcriptional auxin responses. Furthermore, network analysis revealed correlations of inter-species differences in the expression of AUX/IAA gene clusters and classic auxin-related genes. We conclude that variation in general transcriptional and physiological auxin responses may originate substantially from functional or transcriptional variations in the TIR1/AFB, AUX/IAA, and ARF signaling network. In that respect, AUX/IAA gene expression divergence potentially reflects differences in the manner in which different species transduce identical auxin signals into gene expression responses.
Publikation

Raschke, A.; Ibañez, C.; Ullrich, K. K.; Anwer, M. U.; Becker, S.; Glöckner, A.; Trenner, J.; Denk, K.; Saal, B.; Sun, X.; Ni, M.; Davis, S. J.; Delker, C.; Quint, M. Natural variants of ELF3 affect thermomorphogenesis by transcriptionally modulating PIF4-dependent auxin response genes BMC Plant Biol. 15, 197, (2015) DOI: 10.1186/s12870-015-0566-6

BackgroundPerception and transduction of temperature changes result in altered growth enabling plants to adapt to increased ambient temperature. While PHYTOCHROME-INTERACTING FACTOR4 (PIF4) has been identified as a major ambient temperature signaling hub, its upstream regulation seems complex and is poorly understood. Here, we exploited natural variation for thermo-responsive growth in Arabidopsis thaliana using quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis.ResultsWe identified GIRAFFE2.1, a major QTL explaining ~18 % of the phenotypic variation for temperature-induced hypocotyl elongation in the Bay-0 x Sha recombinant inbred line population. Transgenic complementation demonstrated that allelic variation in the circadian clock regulator EARLY FLOWERING3 (ELF3) is underlying this QTL. The source of variation could be allocated to a single nucleotide polymorphism in the ELF3 coding region, resulting in differential expression of PIF4 and its target genes, likely causing the observed natural variation in thermo-responsive growth.ConclusionsIn combination with other recent studies, this work establishes the role of ELF3 in the ambient temperature signaling network. Natural variation of ELF3-mediated gating of PIF4 expression during nightly growing periods seems to be affected by a coding sequence quantitative trait nucleotide that confers a selective advantage in certain environments. In addition, natural ELF3 alleles seem to differentially integrate temperature and photoperiod information to induce architectural changes. Thus, ELF3 emerges as an essential coordinator of growth and development in response to diverse environmental cues and implicates ELF3 as an important target of adaptation. 
Publikation

Ryan,P. T.; Ó’Maoiléidigh, D. S.; Drost, H.-G.; Kwaśniewska, D.; Gabel, A.; Grosse, I.; Graciet, E.; Quint, M.; Wellmer, F. Patterns of gene expression during Arabidopsis flower development from the time of initiation to maturation BMC Genomics 16, 488 , (2015) DOI: 10.1186/s12864-015-1699-6

Background:The formation of flowers is one of the main model systems to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that control developmental processes in plants. Although several studies have explored gene expression during flower development in the model plant Arabidopsis thalianaon a genome-wide scale, a continuous series of expression data from the earliest floral stages until maturation has been lacking. Here, we used a floral induction system to closethis information gap and to generate a reference dataset for stage-specific gene expression during flower formation.Results:Using a floral induction system, we collected floral buds at 14 different stages from the time of initiation until maturation. Using whole-genome microarray analysis, we identified 7,405 genes that exhibit rapid expression changes during flower development. These genes comprise many known floral regulators and we found that the expression profiles for these regulators match their known expression patterns, thus validating the dataset. We analyzed groups ofco-expressed genes for over-represented cellular and developmental functions through Gene Ontology analysis and found that they could be assigned specific patterns of activities, which are in agreement with the progression of flower development. Furthermore, by mapping binding sites of floral organ identity factors onto our dataset, we were able to identify gene groups that are likely predominantly under control of these transcriptional regulators. We furtherfound that the distribution of paralogs among groups of co-expressed genes varies considerably, with genes expressed predominantly at early and intermediate stages of flower development showing the highest proportion of such genes.Conclusions:Our results highlight and describe the dynamic expression changes undergone by a large numberof genes during flower development. They further provide a comprehensive reference dataset for temporal gene expression during flower formation and we demonstrate that it can be used to integrate data from other genomics approaches such as genome-wide localization studies of transcription factor binding sites.
Publikation

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.
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