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

Current biology : CB (2020-03-11)
Baoqing Ding, Erin L Patterson, Srinidhi V Holalu, Jingjian Li, Grace A Johnson, Lauren E Stanley, Anna B Greenlee, Foen Peng, H D Bradshaw, Michael L Blinov, Benjamin K Blackman, Yao-Wu Yuan
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.

MATERIALS
Product Number
Brand
Product Description

Sigma-Aldrich
Spectrum Plant Total RNA Kit, sufficient for 50 purifications
Sigma-Aldrich
MES hydrate, BioPerformance Certified, suitable for cell culture, ≥99.5%
Sigma-Aldrich
3′,5′-Dimethoxy-4′-hydroxyacetophenone, 97%
Millipore
Ticarcillin Supplement, suitable for microbiology