Evkaikina AI, Berke L, Romanova MA, Proux-Wéra E, Ivanova AN, Rydin C, Pawlowski K, Voitsekhovskaja OV
Genome Biol Evol 9 (9) 2444-2460 [2017-09-01; online 2017-09-29]
Lycopodiophyta-consisting of three orders, Lycopodiales, Isoetales and Selaginellales, with different types of shoot apical meristems (SAMs)-form the earliest branch among the extant vascular plants. They represent a sister group to all other vascular plants, from which they differ in that their leaves are microphylls-that is, leaves with a single, unbranched vein, emerging from the protostele without a leaf gap-not megaphylls. All leaves represent determinate organs originating on the flanks of indeterminate SAMs. Thus, leaf formation requires the suppression of indeterminacy, that is, of KNOX transcription factors. In seed plants, this is mediated by different groups of transcription factors including ARP and YABBY.We generated a shoot tip transcriptome of Huperzia selago (Lycopodiales) to examine the genes involved in leaf formation. Our H. selago transcriptome does not contain any ARP homolog, although transcriptomes of Selaginella spp. do. Surprisingly, we discovered a YABBY homolog, although these transcription factors were assumed to have evolved only in seed plants.The existence of a YABBY homolog in H. selago suggests that YABBY evolved already in the common ancestor of the vascular plants, and subsequently was lost in some lineages like Selaginellales, whereas ARP may have been lost in Lycopodiales. The presence of YABBY in the common ancestor of vascular plants would also support the hypothesis that this common ancestor had a simplex SAM. Furthermore, a comparison of the expression patterns of ARP in shoot tips of Selaginella kraussiana (Harrison CJ, etal. 2005. Independent recruitment of a conserved developmental mechanism during leaf evolution. Nature 434(7032):509-514.) and YABBY in shoot tips of H. selago implies that the development of microphylls, unlike megaphylls, does not seem to depend on the combined activities of ARP and YABBY. Altogether, our data show that Lycopodiophyta are a diverse group; so, in order to understand the role of Lycopodiophyta in evolution, representatives of Lycopodiales, Selaginellales, as well as of Isoetales, have to be examined.