METHODS: Phylogenetic analysis was used to identify candidate Dendrobium catenatum R2R3-MYB (DcaMYB) sequences associated with pigment and cell shape development. Gene silencing of candidate DhMYBs in Dendrobium hybrid by direct application of dsRNA to developing flowers was followed by observation of gene expression level and flower phenotypes. Silencing of the structural gene chalcone synthase was used as a comparative control.
KEY RESULTS: Ten candidate flower-associated DcaMYBs were identified. Flowers treated with dsRNA of DhMYB22 and DhMYB60 sequences were less pigmented and had relatively low expression of anthocyanin biosynthetic genes (F3'H and DFR), lower total anthocyanin concentration and markedly lower levels of cyanidin-3-glucoside and cyanidin-3-rutinoside. Petals of DhMYB22-treated flowers and sepals of DhMYB60-treated flowers showed the greatest colour difference relative to the same organs in untreated flowers. DhMYB22-treated flowers had relatively narrow and constricted lips, while DhMYB60-treated flowers had narrow and constricted sepals. No significant difference in shape was observed for DhCHS-treated or untreated flowers.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrate that DhMYB22 and DhMYB60 regulate pigment intensity and floral organ shape in Dendrobium. This is a first report of MYB regulation of floral organ shape in orchids.
RESULTS: We show that SYMRK is essential for nodulation and endomycorrhization in Parasponia andersonii. Subsequently, it is revealed that the 5'-intron donor splice site of SYMRK intron 12 is variable and, in most dicotyledon species, doesn't contain the canonical dinucleotide 'GT' signature but the much less common motif 'GC'. Strikingly, in T. orientalis, this motif is converted into a rare non-canonical 5'-intron donor splice site 'GA'. This SYMRK allele, however, is fully functional and spreads in the T. orientalis population of Malaysian Borneo. A further investigation into the occurrence of the non-canonical GA-AG splice sites confirmed that these are extremely rare.
CONCLUSION: SYMRK functioning is highly conserved in legumes, actinorhizal plants, and Parasponia. The gene possesses a non-common 5'-intron GC donor splice site in intron 12, which is converted into a GA in T. orientalis accessions of Malaysian Borneo. The discovery of this functional GA-AG splice site in SYMRK highlights a gap in our understanding of splice donor sites.