The loss-of-function GLABROUS 3 mutation in cucumber is due to LTR-retrotransposon insertion in a class IV HD-ZIP transcription factor gene CsGL3 that is epistatic over CsGL1.BMC Plant Biol. 2015 Dec 29; 15:302.BP
Trichomes, developed from the protodermal cells (the outermost cell layer of the embryo), are hair-like structures covering the aerial parts of plants. The genetic network regulating trichome development has been extensively studied and well understood in the model species Arabidopsis thaliana, which bears unicellular, non-glandular and branched trichomes. However, little is known about the genetic and molecular basis of organogenesis of multi-cellular trichomes in plant species like cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.), which are likely different from Arabidopsis.
We identified a new trichome mutant in cucumber which exhibited a completely glabrous phenotype on all aerial organs. Genetic analysis indicated that the glabrous phenotype was inherited as a single recessive gene, csgl3. Fine genetic mapping delimited the csgl3 locus into a 68.4 kb region with 12 predicted genes. Genetic analysis, sequence alignment and allelic variation survey in natural populations identified Csa6G514870 encoding a class IV homeodomain-associated leucine zipper (HD-ZIP) transcription factor as the only candidate for CsGL3, which was 5188 bp in length with 10 predicted exons. Gene expression analysis revealed the loss-of-function of CsGL3 in the mutant due to the insertion of a 5-kb long terminal repeat (LTR) retrotransposon in the 4th exon of CsGL3. Linkage analysis in a segregating population and gene expression analysis of the CsGL1 and CsGL3 genes in csgl1, csgl3, and csgl1 + 3 genetic backgrounds uncovered interactions between the two genes. Phylogenetic analysis among 28 class IV HD-ZIP protein sequences from five species placed cucumber CsGL3 into the same clade with 7 other members that play important roles in trichome initiation.
The new glabrous mutation in cucumber was controlled by a single recessive locus csgl3, which was phenotypically and genetically distinct from two previously reported glabrous mutants csgl1 and csgl2. The glabrous phenotype in csgl3 was due to insertion of an autonomous, active, class I transposable element in CsGL3, a class IV HD-ZIP transcription factor. CsGL3 was epistatic to CsGL1. CsGL3 seemed to play important roles in cucumber trichome initiation whereas CsGL1 may act downstream in the trichome development pathway(s). Findings from the present study provide new insights into genetic control of trichome development in cucumber.