The adaptive radiation of Bromeliaceae (pineapple family) is one of the most diverse among Neotropical flowering plants. Diversification in this group was facilitated by several ´key innovations´ including the transition from C3 to CAM photosynthesis. We used a phylogenomic approach complemented by differential gene expression (RNA-seq) and targeted metabolite profiling to address the patterns and mechanisms of C3/CAM evolution in the extremely species-rich bromeliad genus Tillandsia and related taxa. Evolutionary analyses at a range of different levels (selection on protein-coding genes, gene duplication and loss, regulatory evolution) revealed three common themes driving the evolution of CAM: response to heat and drought, alterations to basic carbohydrate metabolism, and regulation of organic acid storage. At the level of genes and their products, CAM/C3 shifts were accompanied by gene expansion of a circadian regulator, re-programming of ABA-related gene expression, and adaptive sequence evolution of an enolase, effectively linking carbohydrate metabolism to ABA-mediated stress response. These changes include several pleiotropic regulators, which facilitated the evolution of correlated adaptive traits during a textbook adaptive radiation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)