Biochemistry

Abstract

CS-1-3 - Comparative genomics of nectaries and nectars in the dicots reveals key conserved modules involved in nectar synthesis and secretion

Sunday, July 15
1:43 PM - 2:03 PM

Plants attract mutualistic animals by offering a reward of nectar. Specifically, floral nectar (FN) is produced to attract pollinators, whereas extrafloral nectar (EFN) mediates indirect defenses through the attraction of mutualist predatory insects to limit herbivory. Nearly 90% of all plant species, including 75% of domesticated crops, benefit from animal-mediated pollination, which is largely facilitated by FN. Moreover, EFN represents one of the few defense mechanisms for which stable effects on plant health and fitness have been demonstrated in multiple systems, and thus plays a crucial role in the resistance phenotype of plants producing it. In spite of its central role in plant-animal interactions, the molecular events involved in the development of both floral and extrafloral nectaries (the glands that produce nectar), as well as the synthesis and secretion of the nectar itself, have been poorly understood until recently. To date, a holistic and coordinated characterization of nectar secretion from a comparative genomic and molecular perspective has been lacking. Toward this end, we have evaluated the transcriptomes and proteomes of floral and extrafloral nectaries throughout development across twelve dicotyledonous species and identified core sets of genes and modules involved in the synthesis and secretion of nectar across species, as well as its regulation. Key conserved modules include hormornal biosynthesis and response pathways, as well as genes involved in carbohydrate metabolism and transport. Similarly, metabolite profiling coupled with transcriptomic and reverse genetics approaches identified specific loci responsible for nectar characteristics that influence mutualist visitation. For example, genes and pathways required for the synthesis of sucrose-rich and proline-rich nectars across species were identified.


 

Co-Authors

Rahul Roy – University of Minnesota; Elizabeth Chatt – Iowa State University; Erik Solhaug – University of Minnesota; Anthony Schmitt – University of Minnesota; Jason Thomas – University of Minnesota; Marshall Hampton – University of Minnesota Duluth; Robert Thornburg – Iowa State University; Basil Nikolau – Iowa State University

Clay J. Carter

Associate Professor
University of Minnesota

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CS-1-3 - Comparative genomics of nectaries and nectars in the dicots reveals key conserved modules involved in nectar synthesis and secretion



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