The Role of Cis- and Trans-regulatory Mutations in Flower Color Differentiation of Lotus Color Variation
Published:08 Dec.2022    Source:BioArt Plant

Recently, research team of Chen Jinming from Wuhan Botanical Garden of the Chinese Academy of Sciences revealed the role of interspecific cis- and trans-regulatory mutation in the flower color differentiation of lotus plants. 

Cis-and trans-regulatory variants affect gene expression changes by changing regulatory regions around genes (such as promoters) or trans acting factors (such as transcription factors), respectively, and thus participate in the formation of phenotypic diversity during species evolution. However, how and why these two major types of regulatory mutations arise in different genes and how gene expression is inherited and associated with these regulatory changes are unclear.
The team of Chen Jinming revealed the relative contributions of cis- and trans-regulatory changes to interspecific expression rewiring underlying petal color change and how the expression is inherited in hybrids by studying allele-specific expression in F1 hybrids of pink-flowered sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) and yellow-flowered American lotus (N. lutea). Although cis-only variants influenced slightly more genes, trans-only variants had a stronger impact on expression differences between species. The study suggests distinct selective constraints and modes of gene expression inheritance among different regulatory mutations underlying lotus petal color divergence.