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Abstract Detail

Evolutionary Developmental Biology (Evo-Devo)

Maheepala, Dinusha C. [1], Macon, Jenna [2], Litt, Amy [3].

The function of FRUITFULL genes in fleshy fruit development.

Fleshy fruits, valued for nutritional and economic benefits, have evolved numerous times in angiosperms. Little is known about the molecular mechanisms that underlie the evolution of these plant organs. In Solanaceae (nightshades), there has been a shift to fleshy fruit from the plesiomorphic dry capsule in the subfamily Solanoideae. This family also contains additional independent transitions to fleshy fruit as well as a reversion to dry fruit. Thus, this genetically tractable family with multiple sequenced genomes is a good system to study the evolution of fleshy fruit. The FRUITFULL (FUL) gene is important for patterning the lignified dehiscence zone in the dry silique in Arabidopsis. FUL genes are also expressed in fleshy tomato. However, the lack of lignified tissue in tomato suggests a change in the function of FUL genes in fleshy fruit. A whole genome duplication coinciding with the diversification of core-eudicots resulted in two FUL gene clades: euFULI and euFULII. Solanaceae have two gene copies in each clade with a high degree of sequence similarity. All four of these genes are expressed in fruit, suggesting functional redundancy. Several studies, including ours, have indicated that SlFUL2, a euFULI gene, plays a role in pigmentation, pericarp thickness, and ethylene production in tomato. However, the outcomes of these studies are contradictory, possibly due to the downregulation of other FUL genes. In fact, all of the studies targeted SlFUL2, but knocked down both euFULI genes. We also knocked down at least one euFULII gene; however, none of the other studies checked the euFULII genes. Therefore, we still do not know the role of FUL genes in tomato development. Our project is aimed at understanding how each of these four FUL genes functions in fleshy fruit development, and how these functions may have changed in the shift to fleshy fruit. As part of this, we are creating single, double, and quadruple knockout mutants in tomato using CRISPR/Cas9. Since tomato has undergone domestication, we are also studying the function of the FUL genes in its closest wild relative, Solanum pimpinellifolium, a species that has not been artificially selected, and that is a closer representation of a wild-type Solanoideae berry. We have assembled the CRISPR/Cas9 construct for creating slful1 mutants, and will present the results of the analysis.

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1 - University of California, Riverside, Botany and Plant Sciences, 900 University Avenue, Riverside, CA, 92521, USA
2 - University of California, Riverside
3 - University of California, Riverside, 900 University Avenue, Riverside, CA, 92521, United States

Solanum lycopersicum
fleshy fruit

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 2, Evolution and Development
Location: 200/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Monday, August 1st, 2016
Time: 9:30 AM
Number: 2007
Abstract ID:215
Candidate for Awards:None

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