Transcriptome and Network Analyses of Heterostyly in Turnera subulata Provide Mechanistic Insights: Are S-Loci a Red-Light for Pistil Elongation?
Heterostyly employs distinct hermaphroditic floral morphs to enforce outbreeding. Morphs differ structurally in stigma/anther positioning, promoting cross-pollination, and physiologically blocking self-fertilization. Heterostyly is controlled by a self-incompatibility (S)-locus of a small number of linked S-genes specific to short-styled morph genomes. Turnera possesses three S-genes, namely TsBAHD (controlling pistil characters), TsYUC6, and TsSPH1 (controlling stamen characters). Here, we
... ters). Here, we compare pistil and stamen transcriptomes of floral morphs of T. subulata to investigate hypothesized S-gene function(s) and whether hormonal differences might contribute to physiological incompatibility. We then use network analyses to identify genetic networks underpinning heterostyly. We found a depletion of brassinosteroid-regulated genes in short styled (S)-morph pistils, consistent with hypothesized brassinosteroid-inactivating activity of TsBAHD. In S-morph anthers, auxin-regulated genes were enriched, consistent with hypothesized auxin biosynthesis activity of TsYUC6. Evidence was found for auxin elevation and brassinosteroid reduction in both pistils and stamens of S- relative to long styled (L)-morph flowers, consistent with reciprocal hormonal differences contributing to physiological incompatibility. Additional hormone pathways were also affected, however, suggesting S-gene activities intersect with a signaling hub. Interestingly, distinct S-genes controlling pistil length, from three species with independently evolved heterostyly, potentially intersect with phytochrome interacting factor (PIF) network hubs which mediate red/far-red light signaling. We propose that modification of the activities of PIF hubs by the S-locus could be a common theme in the evolution of heterostyly.