Functional characterization of AGAMOUS-subfamily members from cotton during reproductive development and in response to plant hormones
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Expression analysis of the AG -subfamily members from G. hirsutum during flower and fruit development.
Reproductive development in cotton, including the fruit and fiber formation, is a complex process; it involves the coordinated action of gene expression regulators, and it is highly influenced by plant hormones. Several studies have reported the identification and expression of the transcription factor family MADS-box members in cotton ovules and fibers; however, their roles are still elusive during the reproductive development in cotton. In this study, we evaluated the expression profiles of five MADS-box genes (GhMADS3, GhMADS4, GhMADS5, GhMADS6 and GhMADS7) belonging to the AGAMOUS-subfamily in Gossypium hirsutum. Phylogenetic and protein sequence analyses were performed using diploid (G. arboreum, G. raimondii) and tetraploid (G. barbadense, G. hirsutum) cotton genomes, as well as the AG-subfamily members from Arabidopsis thaliana, Petunia hybrida and Antirrhinum majus. qPCR analysis showed that the AG-subfamily genes had high expression during flower and fruit development in G. hirsutum. In situ hybridization analysis also substantiates the involvement of AG-subfamily members on reproductive tissues of G. hirsutum, including ovule and ovary. The effect of plant hormones on AG-subfamily genes expression was verified in cotton fruits treated with gibberellin, auxin and brassinosteroid. All the genes were significantly regulated in response to auxin, whereas only GhMADS3, GhMADS4 and GhMADS7 genes were also regulated by brassinosteroid treatment. In addition, we have investigated the GhMADS3 and GhMADS4 overexpression effects in Arabidopsis plants. Interestingly, the transgenic plants from both cotton AG-like genes in Arabidopsis significantly altered the fruit size compared to the control plants. This alteration suggests that cotton AG-like genes might act regulating fruit formation. Our results demonstrate that members of the AG-subfamily in G. hirsutum present a conserved expression profile during flower development, but also demonstrate their expression during fruit development and in response to phytohormones.
KeywordsGossypium hirsutum MADS-box genes Plant hormones Gene expression Reference genes Reproductive development
We thank Durvalina Felix and Alexandre Garcez by assist in samples preparation. We are grateful Fábia Guimarães-Dias by valuable suggestions on the Manuscript. This work was supported by the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ), Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) and European Community (Evolutionary Conservation of Regulatory Network Controlling Flower Development, EVOCODE).
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