Natural variation in Arabidopsis shoot branching plasticity in response to nitrate supply affects fitness

Autoři: Maaike de Jong aff001;  Hugo Tavares aff001;  Raj K. Pasam aff001;  Rebecca Butler aff001;  Sally Ward aff001;  Gilu George aff002;  Charles W. Melnyk aff001;  Richard Challis aff002;  Paula X. Kover aff003;  Ottoline Leyser aff001
Působiště autorů: Sainsbury Laboratory, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom aff001;  Department of Biology, University of York, York, United Kingdom aff002;  Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath, United Kingdom aff003
Vyšlo v časopise: Natural variation in Arabidopsis shoot branching plasticity in response to nitrate supply affects fitness. PLoS Genet 15(9): e32767. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1008366
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1008366


The capacity of organisms to tune their development in response to environmental cues is pervasive in nature. This phenotypic plasticity is particularly striking in plants, enabled by their modular and continuous development. A good example is the activation of lateral shoot branches in Arabidopsis, which develop from axillary meristems at the base of leaves. The activity and elongation of lateral shoots depends on the integration of many signals both external (e.g. light, nutrient supply) and internal (e.g. the phytohormones auxin, strigolactone and cytokinin). Here, we characterise natural variation in plasticity of shoot branching in response to nitrate supply using two diverse panels of Arabidopsis lines. We find extensive variation in nitrate sensitivity across these lines, suggesting a genetic basis for variation in branching plasticity. High plasticity is associated with extreme branching phenotypes such that lines with the most branches on high nitrate have the fewest under nitrate deficient conditions. Conversely, low plasticity is associated with a constitutively moderate level of branching. Furthermore, variation in plasticity is associated with alternative life histories with the low plasticity lines flowering significantly earlier than high plasticity lines. In Arabidopsis, branching is highly correlated with fruit yield, and thus low plasticity lines produce more fruit than high plasticity lines under nitrate deficient conditions, whereas highly plastic lines produce more fruit under high nitrate conditions. Low and high plasticity, associated with early and late flowering respectively, can therefore be interpreted alternative escape vs mitigate strategies to low N environments. The genetic architecture of these traits appears to be highly complex, with only a small proportion of the estimated genetic variance detected in association mapping.

Klíčová slova:

Physical sciences – Chemistry – Chemical compounds – Nitrates – Biology and life sciences – Genetics – Genetic loci – Quantitative trait loci – Genomics – Genome analysis – Human genetics – Heredity – Population genetics – Organisms – Eukaryota – Plants – Brassica – Arabidopsis thaliana – Flowering plants – Computational biology – Genome-wide association studies – Evolutionary biology – Genetic polymorphism – Population biology – Research and analysis methods – Animal studies – Experimental organism systems – Model organisms – Plant and algal models


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