Spatial expression dynamics of Men-9 delineate the third floral whorl in male and female flowers of dioecious Silene latifolia

S.E. Robertson, Y. Li, C.P. Scutt, M.E. Willis, P.M. Gilmartin

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Sex determination in Silene latifolia is controlled by heteromorphic sex chromosomes. Female flowers have five fused carpels and ten arrested stamen primordia. The male-determining Y chromosome overrides female development to suppress carpel formation and promote stamen development. The isolation and characterization of two S. latifolia Male enhanced cDNAs, Men-9a and Men-9b, which probably represent different alleles of a novel gene are reported here. Men-9a and Men-9b share 91.8% coding sequence nucleotide identity, yet only 85.4% amino acid identity. The Men-9 cDNAs are related to the previously reported MROS3 cDNA from S. latifolia. However, MROS3 is not present in the S. latifolia population used in these studies and the expression dynamics of Men-9a and Men-9b contrast dramatically with those reported for MROS3. Men-9 cDNAs are expressed primarily in anthers of young male flowers, with highest expression in 1-2 mm buds. Men-9 expression is also observed at a low level in female flowers. In situ hybridization analysis reveals two phases of Men-9 expression. The first phase is during a common stage of early stamen development in male and female flowers prior to stamen arrest in female flowers. The second phase of Men-9 expression is maximal in the epidermis and endothecium of Y chromosome- and Ustilago violacea-induced stamens; expression in male and female flowers extends to the epidermis of the staminal nectaries with strict boundaries at the second and fourth whorls. Men-9 gene expression therefore delineates the boundaries of the third floral whorl in S. latifolia flowers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-168
Number of pages14
JournalThe Plant Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 1997

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