A Y-encoded suppressor of feminization arose via lineage-specific duplication of a cytokinin response regulator in kiwifruit

Takashi Akagi, Isabelle M. Henry, Haruka Ohtani, Takuya Morimoto, Kenji Beppu, Ikuo Kataoka, Ryutaro Tao

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29 Citations (Scopus)


Dioecy, the presence of male and female flowers on distinct individuals, has evolved independently in multiple plant lineages, and the genes involved in this differential development are just starting to be uncovered in a few species. Here, we used genomic approaches to investigate this pathway in kiwifruits (genus Actinidia). Genome-wide cataloging of male-specific subsequences, combined with transcriptome analysis, led to the identification of a type-C cytokinin response regulator as a potential sex determinant gene in this genus. Functional transgenic analyses in two model systems, Arabidopsis thaliana and Nicotiana tabacum, indicated that this gene acts as a dominant suppressor of carpel development, prompting us to name it Shy Girl (SyGI). Evolutionary analyses in a panel of Actinidia species revealed that SyGI is located in the Y-specific region of the genome and probably arose from a lineage-specific gene duplication. Comparisons with the duplicated autosomal counterpart, and with orthologs from other angiosperms, suggest that the SyGI-specific duplication and subsequent evolution of cis-elements may have played a key role in the acquisition of separate sexes in this species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)780-795
Number of pages16
JournalPlant Cell
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology

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