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Open AccessArticle

Pollination Drop Proteome and Reproductive Organ Transcriptome Comparison in Gnetum Reveals Entomophilous Adaptation

1
School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-Sen University, Xingangxi Road No. 135, Guangzhou 510275, China
2
Division of Ecology & Biodiversity, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong, China
3
Institute of Ecology, Hunan Academy of Forestry, Shaoshannan Road, No. 6581, Changsha 410004, China
4
Hunan Cili Forest Ecosystem State Research Station, Cili 427200, China
5
Key Laboratory of Southern Subtropical Plant Diversity, Fairy Lake Botanical Garden, Shenzhen & Chinese Academy of Science, Liantangxianhu Road, No. 160, Shenzhen 518004, China
6
Sino-Africa Joint Research Centre, Chinese Academy of Science, Moshan, Wuhan 430074, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Genes 2019, 10(10), 800; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes10100800
Received: 30 August 2019 / Revised: 30 September 2019 / Accepted: 11 October 2019 / Published: 12 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolutionary Genetics of Plant Reproduction)
Gnetum possesses morphologically bisexual but functionally unisexual reproductive structures that exude sugary pollination drops to attract insects. Previous studies have revealed that the arborescent species (G. gnemon L.) and the lianoid species (G. luofuense C.Y.Cheng) possess different pollination syndromes. This study compared the proteome in the pollination drops of these two species using label-free quantitative techniques. The transcriptomes of fertile reproductive units (FRUs) and sterile reproductive units (SRUs) for each species were furthermore compared using Illumina Hiseq sequencing, and integrated proteomic and transcriptomic analyses were subsequently performed. Our results show that the differentially expressed proteins between FRUs and SRUs were involved in carbohydrate metabolism, the biosynthesis of amino acids and ovule defense. In addition, the differentially expressed genes between the FRUs and SRUs (e.g., MADS-box genes) were engaged in reproductive development and the formation of pollination drops. The integrated protein-transcript analyses revealed that FRUs and their exudates were relatively conservative while the SRUs and their exudates were more diverse, probably functioning as pollinator attractants. The evolution of reproductive organs appears to be synchronized with changes in the pollination drop proteome of Gnetum, suggesting that insect-pollinated adaptations are not restricted to angiosperms but also occur in gymnosperms.
Keywords: insect pollination; label-free quantitative sequencing; pollination drops; proteome; transcriptome; Gnetales insect pollination; label-free quantitative sequencing; pollination drops; proteome; transcriptome; Gnetales
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hou, C.; Saunders, R.M.K.; Deng, N.; Wan, T.; Su, Y. Pollination Drop Proteome and Reproductive Organ Transcriptome Comparison in Gnetum Reveals Entomophilous Adaptation. Genes 2019, 10, 800.

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