Shared mutations in a novel glutaredoxin repressor of multicellular trichome fate underlie parallel evolution of Antirrhinum species

Ying Tan, Matthew Barnbrook, Yvette Wilson, Attila Molnar, Alfredas Bukys, Andrew Hudson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Most angiosperms produce trichomes—epidermal hairs that have protective or more specialized roles. Trichomes are multicellular in almost all species and, in the majority, secretory. Despite the importance of multicellular trichomes for plant protection and as a source of high-value products, the mechanisms that control their development are only poorly understood. Here, we investigate the control of multicellular trichome patterns using natural variation within the genus Antirrhinum (snapdragons), which has evolved hairy alpine-adapted species or lowland species with a restricted trichome pattern multiple times in parallel. We find that a single gene, Hairy (H), which is needed to repress trichome fate, underlies variation in trichome patterns between all Antirrhinum species except one. We show that H encodes a novel epidermis-specific glutaredoxin and that the pattern of trichome distribution within individuals reflects the location of H expression. Phylogenetic and functional tests suggest that H gained its trichome-repressing role late in the history of eudicots and that the ancestral Antirrhinum had an active H gene and restricted trichome distribution. Loss of H function was involved in an early divergence of alpine and lowland Antirrhinum lineages, and the alleles underlying this split were later reused in parallel evolution of alpines from lowland ancestors, and vice versa. We also find evidence for an evolutionary reversal from a widespread to restricted trichome distribution involving a suppressor mutation and for a pleiotropic effect of H on plant growth that might constrain the evolution of trichome pattern.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1357-1366.E4
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number8
Early online date27 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2020

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Antirrhinum
  • snapdragon
  • trichome
  • glutaredoxin
  • parallel evolution


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