J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2017, Vol. 59 ›› Issue (3): 180-189.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12511

• Molecular Ecology and Evolution • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Fitness consequences of altering floral circadian oscillations for Nicotiana attenuata

Felipe Yon1, Danny Kessler1, Youngsung Joo1, Lucas Cortés Llorca1, Sang-Gyu Kim1,2* and Ian T. Baldwin1*   

  1. 1Department of Molecular Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Hans-Knöll-Straße 8, D-07745 Jena, Germany
    2Center for Genome Engineering, Institute for Basic Science, Yuseong-gu, 34047 Daejeon, South Korea


Ecological interactions between flowers and pollinators are all about timing. Flower opening/closing and scent emissions are largely synchronized with pollinator activity, and a circadian clock regulates these rhythms. However, whether the circadian clock increases a plant's reproductive success by regulating these floral rhythms remains untested. Flowers of Nicotiana attenuata, a wild tobacco, diurnally and rhythmically open, emit scent and move vertically through a 140° arc to interact with nocturnal hawkmoths. We tethered flowers to evaluate the importance of flower positions for Manduca sexta-mediated pollinations; flower position dramatically influenced pollination. We examined the pollination success of phase-shifted flowers, silenced in circadian clock genes, NaZTL, NaLHY, and NaTOC1, by RNAi. Circadian rhythms in N. attenuata flowers are responsible for altered seed set from outcrossed pollen.

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