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Curr Biol. 2020 Mar 9;30(5):802-814.e8. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.12.067. Epub 2020 Feb 20.

Two MYB Proteins in a Self-Organizing Activator-Inhibitor System Produce Spotted Pigmentation Patterns.

Author information

1
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut, 75 North Eagleville Road, Unit 3043, Storrs, CT 06269, USA.
2
Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, 111 Koshland Hall #3102, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA; Department of Biology, University of Virginia, P.O. Box 400328, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA.
3
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut, 75 North Eagleville Road, Unit 3043, Storrs, CT 06269, USA; College of Forestry and Landscape Architecture, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China.
4
Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, 111 Koshland Hall #3102, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.
5
Department of Biology, University of Virginia, P.O. Box 400328, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA.
6
Department of Biology, University of Washington, Box 351800, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.
7
Center for Cell Analysis and Modeling, University of Connecticut Health Center, 263 Farmington Avenue, Farmington, CT 06030, USA.
8
Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, 111 Koshland Hall #3102, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA; Department of Biology, University of Virginia, P.O. Box 400328, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA. Electronic address: bkblackman@berkeley.edu.
9
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut, 75 North Eagleville Road, Unit 3043, Storrs, CT 06269, USA; Institute for Systems Genomics, University of Connecticut, 67 North Eagleville Road, Storrs, CT 06269, USA. Electronic address: yaowu.yuan@uconn.edu.

Abstract

Many organisms exhibit visually striking spotted or striped pigmentation patterns. Developmental models predict that such spatial patterns can form when a local autocatalytic feedback loop and a long-range inhibitory feedback loop interact. At its simplest, this self-organizing network only requires one self-activating activator that also activates a repressor, which inhibits the activator and diffuses to neighboring cells. However, the molecular activators and inhibitors fully fitting this versatile model remain elusive in pigmentation systems. Here, we characterize an R2R3-MYB activator and an R3-MYB repressor in monkeyflowers (Mimulus). Through experimental perturbation and mathematical modeling, we demonstrate that the properties of these two proteins correspond to an activator-inhibitor pair in a two-component, reaction-diffusion system, explaining the formation of dispersed anthocyanin spots in monkeyflower petals. Notably, disrupting this pattern impacts pollinator visitation. Thus, subtle changes in simple activator-inhibitor systems are likely essential contributors to the evolution of the remarkable diversity of pigmentation patterns in flowers.

KEYWORDS:

Erythranthe; Mimulus; anthocyanin; developmental patterning; flower color; genome editing; monkeyflower; natural variation; pigmentation; reaction-diffusion

PMID:
32155414
DOI:
10.1016/j.cub.2019.12.067

Conflict of interest statement

Declaration of Interests The authors declare no competing interests.

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