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Abstract Detail

Ericaceae: Systematics, Ecology and Evolution

Le Maitre, Nicholas [1], Pirie, Mike [2], Bellstedt, Dirk [3].

An approach to determining anthocyanin synthesis enzyme gene expression in an evolutionary context an example from Erica.

Floral colour in angiosperms can be controlled by variations in the expression of the genes of the anthocyanin biosynthesis pathway. It has been shown that floral colour shifts influence pollinator specificity. Erica is most speciose genus in the Cape Floristic Region (CFR) and has diversified in the CFR at a very rapid rate. Shifts in floral colour appear to have played a role in the diversification of the genus, from plesiomorphic pink to e.g. red flowers and reversions to white flowers. At least fourteen independent shifts to red flowers have occurred across the genus.
We have developed the tools to investigate the anthocyanin biosynthesis enzyme genes, their regulation, expression and products using Next Generation Sequencing, Reverse Transcriptase PCR, and Real Time Reverse Transcriptase quantitative PCR and HPLC.
In our investigations thus far, we have found a loss of expression of single genes in a number of populations and species leading to red to white flower reversions, which correlated with mutations in transcription factor binding sites upstream of the 5’-UTR of the genes. Our progress to establish possible commonalities and differences in the expression of anthocyanin genes that may have influenced diversification in Erica species, will be presented.

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1 - Stellenbosch University, Biochemistry, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland, Stellenbosch, WC, 7600, South Africa
2 - Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Institute of Organismic and Molecular Evolution, Saarstr. 21 , 55122, Mainz, Germany
3 - Stellenbosch University, Biochemistry, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland, Stellenbosch, Western Cape, 7600, South Africa

Transcriptional regulation.

Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Session: C07a, Ericaceae: Systematics, Ecology, and Evolution Part 1
Location: 114/Mayo Civic Center
Date: Tuesday, July 24th, 2018
Time: 11:30 AM
Number: C07a006
Abstract ID:110
Candidate for Awards:None

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