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Abstract Detail

Evolution of Plant Chemical Diversity: Renaissance of comparative biochemistry

Moghe, Gaurav [1], Leong, Bryan [2], Bennett, Alexandra [1], Chenab, Khakh [1], Robert, Last [2].

The emergence and diversification of sugar-containing plant defense compounds in the Solanaceae and Convolvulaceae families.

The complexity of plant metabolic networks has led to the emergence of a massive diversity of chemical structures across plants, with many compound classes restricted to specific phylogenetic clades. My talk will focus on two such compound classes – acylsugars and resin glycosides – found to exist in two sister families Solanaceae and Convolvulaceae, respectively. Both compound classes comprise of acyl chains esterified to central sugar cores, however, significant diversity is generated upon this common pattern, with individual species producing dozens to hundreds of these compounds. An integrative analysis of acylsugars using a phylogeny-guided framework provided a timeline and mechanistic understanding for the emergence and diversification of the acylsugar biosynthetic pathway over the last 100 million years. We found a number of processes including gene duplication, gene loss, allelic variation, transcriptional divergence, novel enzyme recruitment and enzyme multi-functionality influencing the evolution of the entire pathway, generating highly diverse acylsugar phenotypes. Ongoing studies in the Convolvulaceae family – which lacks evidence of acylsugar production – reveal the structural diversity and significance of its own innovation – resin glycosides. This research provides further support for the importance of robust phylogenies and comparative analyses in teasing apart the complexity of metabolic networks across plants. In addition, it highlights the unique opportunities created by the genomics and informatics revolutions in studying trait evolution in non-model plant lineages.

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1 - Cornell University, Plant Biology Section, School of Integrative Plant Sciences, Ithaca, NY, 14850, USA
2 - Michigan State University, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, East Lansing, MI, 48824, USA

natural variation
biochemical evolution

Presentation Type: Symposium Presentation
Session: TBA
Location: /
Date: Thursday, January 1st, 1970
Time: TBA
Abstract ID:628
Candidate for Awards:None

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