bims-plasge Biomed News
on Plastid genes
Issue of 2020‒09‒06
two papers selected by
Vera S. Bogdanova
Institute of Cytology and Genetics, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences

  1. J Hered. 2020 Sep 04. pii: esaa037. [Epub ahead of print]
      Plant mitochondria and plastids display an array of inheritance patterns and varying levels of heteroplasmy, where individuals harbor more than one version of a mitochondrial or plastid genome. Organelle inheritance in plants has the potential to be quite complex and can vary with plant growth, development, and reproduction. Few studies have sought to investigate these complicated patterns of within individual variation and inheritance using experimental crosses in plants. We carried out crosses in carrot, Daucus carota L. (Apiaceae), which has previously been shown to exhibit organellar heteroplasmy. We used mitochondrial and plastid markers to begin to disentangle the patterns of organellar inheritance and the fate of heteroplasmic variation, with special focus on cases where the mother displayed heteroplasmy. We also investigated heteroplasmy across the plant, assaying leaf samples at different development stages and ages. Mitochondrial and plastid paternal leakage was rare and offspring received remarkably similar heteroplasmic mixtures to their heteroplasmic mothers, indicating that heteroplasmy is maintained over the course of maternal inheritance. When offspring did differ from their mother, they were likely to exhibit a loss of the genetic variation that was present in their mother. Finally, we found that mitochondrial variation did not vary significantly over plant development, indicating that substantial vegetative sorting did not occur. Our study is one of the first to quantitatively investigate inheritance patterns and heteroplasmy in plants using controlled crosses, and we look forward to future studies making use of whole genome information to study the complex evolutionary dynamics of plant organellar genomes.
    Keywords:  maternal inheritance; mitochondria; paternal leakage; plastid; quantitative PCR; vegetative sorting
  2. Plant Reprod. 2020 Aug 31.
      Gametophytic cross-incompatibility systems in corn have been the subject of genetic studies for more than a century. They have tremendous economic potential as a genetic mechanism for controlling fertilization without controlling pollination. Three major genetically distinct and functionally equivalent cross-incompatibility systems exist in Zea mays: Ga1, Tcb1, and Ga2. All three confer reproductive isolation between maize or teosinte varieties with different haplotypes at any one locus. These loci confer genetically separable functions to the silk and pollen: a female function that allows the silk to block fertilization by non-self-type pollen and a male function that overcomes the block of the female function from the same locus. Identification of some of these genes has shed light on the reproductive isolation they confer. The identification of both male and female factors as pectin methylesterases reveals the importance of pectin methylesterase activity in controlling the decision between pollen acceptance versus rejection, possibly by regulating the degree of methylesterification of the pollen tube cell wall. The appropriate level and spatial distribution of pectin methylesterification is critical for pollen tube growth and is affected by both pectin methylesterases and pectin methylesterase inhibitors. We present a molecular model that explains how cross-incompatibility systems may function that can be tested in Zea and uncharacterized cross-incompatibility systems. Molecular characterization of these loci in conjunction with further refinement of the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms will allow researchers to bring new and powerful tools to bear on understanding reproductive isolation in Zea mays and related species.
    Keywords:  Cross-incompatibility; Pectin methylesterase; Pistil; Pollen; Reproductive isolation; Zea mays