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The molecular basis of floral traits underlying reproductive isolation in sexually deceptive orchids

Applicant Schlüter Philipp M.
Number 130796
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Institut für Systematische Botanik und Botanischer Garten Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education University of Zurich - ZH
Main discipline Molecular Biology
Start/End 01.11.2010 - 31.10.2014
Approved amount 256'244.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Molecular Biology
Ecology
Botany

Keywords (14)

reproductive isolation; pollination; sexually deceptive orchids; next-generation sequencing; barrier genes; candidate genes; ecological speciation; orchids; evolution; speciation; selection; reproductive barriers; molecular biology; transcriptomics

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
Sexually deceptive orchids of the genus Ophrys mimic the sexual signals of female insects to attract male insects for pollination. This is an untypical plant-pollinator relationship because it results in an unusually high specificity of pollination. Here, different pollinators that are specific to a given orchid species ensure that pollen transfer only occurs between members of the same species, but does not occur between members of different orchid species, i.e. pollinators provide a "reproductive barrier" among different orchid species. A consequence of this system is that natural genetic changes (e.g. mutations) in one species that lead to the attraction of a novel pollinator may be the first step in the evolution of a new orchid species with a new specific pollinator. In particular, specific traits of the orchid flowers, such as their scent, are key determinants of pollinator attraction by flowers.This project seeks to identify and characterise genes involved in specifying flower features that are important for specific pollinator attraction and the reproductive barrier among different orchid species. This will be done by comparing the flower transcriptomes (the set of "active" genes) among orchid species and then investigating genes that show conspicuous differences among species using molecular biology tools.Results from this project will be informative of the molecular mechanisms that affect traits exposed to the environment, and of how selection imposed by the environment results in genetic change. Moreover, they will help us understand how barriers to between-species pollen transfer may be controlled in terms of gene function and how new species may arise in situations where environmental factors (including, but not limited to pollinators) exert strong selection for specific traits. By doing so, our results will be relevant for understanding the pace of adaptation and speciation in plants where reproduction is closely tied to environmental factors.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Amino acid change in an orchid desaturase enables mimicry of the pollinator’s sex pheromone
Sedeek Khalid E. M., Whittle Edward, Guthörl Daniela, Grossniklaus Ueli, Shanklin John, Schlüter Philipp M. (2016), Amino acid change in an orchid desaturase enables mimicry of the pollinator’s sex pheromone, in Current Biology, 26, 1505-1511.
Modeling the two-locus architecture of divergent pollinator adaptation: how variation in SAD paralogs affects fitness and evolutionary divergence in sexually deceptive orchids
Xu Shuqing, Schlüter Philipp (2015), Modeling the two-locus architecture of divergent pollinator adaptation: how variation in SAD paralogs affects fitness and evolutionary divergence in sexually deceptive orchids, in Ecology and Evolution, 5(2), 493-502.
Transcriptome and proteome data reveal candidate genes for pollinator attraction in sexually deceptive orchids
Sedeek Khalid E. M., Qi Weihong, Schauer Monica A., Gupta Alok K., Poveda Lucy, Xu Shuqing, Liu Zhong-Jian, Grossniklaus Ueli, Schiestl Florian P., Schlüter Philipp M. (2013), Transcriptome and proteome data reveal candidate genes for pollinator attraction in sexually deceptive orchids, in PLoS One, 8(5), e64621.
The genetic basis of pollinator adaptation in a sexually deceptive orchid
Xu Shuqing, Schlüter Philipp M., Grossniklaus Ueli, Schiestl Florian P. (2012), The genetic basis of pollinator adaptation in a sexually deceptive orchid, in PLoS Genetics, 8(8), e1002889.
Genic rather than genome-wide differences between sexually deceptive Ophrys orchids with different pollinators
Sedeek Khalid E. M., Scopece Giovanni, Staedler Yannick M., Schönenberger Jürg, Cozzolino Salvatore, Schiestl Florian P., Schlüter Philipp M., Genic rather than genome-wide differences between sexually deceptive Ophrys orchids with different pollinators, in Molecular Ecology.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof. Gravendeel/Nationaal Herbarium Nederland Universiteit Leiden Netherlands (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Prof. Cozzolino/University of Naples Italy (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Dr Staedler/University of Vienna Austria (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Shanklin/Brookhaven National Laboratory United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Genomics of the speciation continuum Poster Pollinator-driven genic ecological speciation in sexually deceptive orchids 04.09.2014 University of Fribour, CH, Switzerland Schlüter Philipp M.;
Radiations Poster Pollinator-driven genic ecological speciation in sexually deceptive orchids 12.06.2014 University of Zurich, CH, Switzerland Schlüter Philipp M.;
XIV Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology Poster The genetic architecture of divergent pollinator attraction in sexually deceptive orchids 19.08.2013 University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal, Portugal Schlüter Philipp M.;
XIV Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology Poster Reproductive barriers and candidate genes involved in the isolation of four closely related sexually deceptive orchids 19.08.2013 University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal, Portugal Sedeek Khalid;
31st New Phytologist Symposium; Orchid symbioses: models for evolutionary ecology Poster Transcriptome and proteome analyses reveal candidate genes for specific pollinator attraction in sexually deceptive orchids 14.05.2013 University of Calabria, Rende, Cosenza, Italy, Italy Sedeek Khalid;
Biology13 Poster Floral isolation is the main reproductive barrier among sexually deceptive orchids (Ophrys) 07.02.2013 Basel, CH, Switzerland Sedeek Khalid;
SWISSPLANT’13 Symposium Poster Candidate genes for specific pollinator attraction as revealed by transcriptome and proteome data 30.01.2013 Meiringen, CH, Switzerland Schlüter Philipp M.;
Evolution Ottawa 2012: 1st Joint Congress on Evolutionary Biology Talk given at a conference The genic basis of pollinator-mediated reproductive isolation 06.07.2012 Ottawa, Canada, Canada Schlüter Philipp M.;
SWISSPLANT'12 Symposium Talk given at a conference Barrier genes in pollinator-mediated reproductive isolation 18.01.2012 Meiringen, CH, Switzerland Schlüter Philipp M.;
Understanding plant phenotypes: Symposium of the Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center Poster Transcriptomic analysis of sexually deceptive orchids (Ophrys) using 454 pyrosequencing 04.11.2011 ETH Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland, Switzerland Schlüter Philipp M.; Sedeek Khalid;
Next-generation plant ecology and evolution workshop 2011 Poster De novo assembly and comparative transcriptome analysis of sexually deceptive orchids 18.10.2011 Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Sedeek Khalid; Schlüter Philipp M.;


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
155943 The molecular basis of parallel evolutionary divergence by differential pollinator attraction 01.06.2015 Project funding
155943 The molecular basis of parallel evolutionary divergence by differential pollinator attraction 01.06.2015 Project funding
125340 Pollinator-driven evolution in different pollination systems 01.11.2009 Project funding

Abstract

Sexually deceptive orchids mimic the mating signals of their pollinator females to attract male pollinators. These orchids have an unusually high specificity of pollination resulting in strong reproductive isolation exerted by their pollinators. In this system, pollinator shifts can lead to the establishment of floral (reproductive) isolation as the first step towards ecological speciation. Floral traits involved in pollinator attraction can therefore be implicated in the evolution and maintenance of reproductive isolation in these non-model organisms. Likewise, genes underlying these phenotypic traits can be implicated in the genetic barrier isolating different species. This project seeks to (1) identify and (2) functionally characterise genes underlying adaptive floral traits, particularly traits underlying floral isolation and specific pollinator attraction, in the sexually deceptive orchid genus Ophrys. This interdisciplinary project, bridging molecular biology and pollination ecology, will deepen our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying species differentiation and floral isolation by combining the strengths of genomics technology and molecular biology with a study system in which a wealth of pollination data are available.This project aims at uncovering the genes and molecular mechanisms that are involved in establishing or maintaining pollinator-mediated reproductive isolation among closely related orchid species. Specifically, we will:(1a) create floral reference transcriptomes by 454 next-generation sequencing,(1b) compare gene expression among species by RNA-Seq using SOLiD next-generation sequencing,(1c) identify candidate genes by combining data on sequence divergence, expression differences, and annotations of putative gene function,(2a) validate candidate genes by testing the association between floral phenotypes and candidate gene sequence and/or expression both in natural populations and during floral development,(2b) investigate candidate gene function by gene silencing and in transgenic Arabidopsis plants,(2c) reconstruct the candidate genes’ evolutionary history and test for the signatures of selection.These analyses will be informative of the molecular mechanisms that affect phenotypic traits, and of how selection imposed by the environment results in genetic change. Results from this project will further our knowledge of the molecular or developmental constraints acting on trait evolution, and will help us understand how barriers to gene flow may be built up in terms of gene function. Our results will therefore be relevant for understanding the pace of adaptation and speciation in plants where reproduction is closely tied to pollinator behaviour.
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