Evolution of a novel phenolic pathway for pollen development

  • Matsuno M
  • Compagnon V
  • Schoch G
 et al. 
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Abstract

Metabolic plasticity, which largely relies on the creation of new genes, is an essential feature of plant adaptation and speciation and has led to the evolution of large gene families. A typical example is provided by the diversification of the cytochrome P450 enzymes in plants. We describe here a retroposition, neofunctionalization, and duplication sequence that, via selective and local amino acid replacement, led to the evolution of a novel phenolic pathway in Brassicaceae. This pathway involves a cascade of six successive hydroxylations by two partially redundant cytochromes P450, leading to the formation of N1,N5-di(hydroxyferuloyl)-N10-sinapoylspermidine, a major pollen constituent and so-far-overlooked player in phenylpropanoid metabolism. This example shows how positive Darwinian selection can favor structured clusters of nonsynonymous substitutions that are needed for the transition of enzymes to new functions.

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Authors

  • Michiyo Matsuno

  • Vincent Compagnon

  • Guillaume A. Schoch

  • Delphine Debayle

  • Jean Etienne Bassard

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