The evolution of gene regulatory networks controlling Arabidopsis thaliana L. trichome development

Alexey V. Doroshkov, Dmitrii K. Konstantinov, Dmitrij A. Afonnikov, Konstantin V. Gunbin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The variation in structure and function of gene regulatory networks (GRNs) participating in organisms development is a key for understanding species-specific evolutionary strategies. Even the tiniest modification of developmental GRN might result in a substantial change of a complex morphogenetic pattern. Great variety of trichomes and their accessibility makes them a useful model for studying the molecular processes of cell fate determination, cell cycle control and cellular morphogenesis. Nowadays, a large number of genes regulating the morphogenesis of A. thaliana trichomes are described. Here we aimed at a study the evolution of the GRN defining the trichome formation, and evaluation its importance in other developmental processes. Results: In study of the evolution of trichomes formation GRN we combined classical phylogenetic analysis with information on the GRN topology and composition in major plants taxa. This approach allowed us to estimate both times of evolutionary emergence of the GRN components which are mainly proteins, and the relative rate of their molecular evolution. Various simplifications of protein structure (based on the position of amino acid residues in protein globula, secondary structure type, and structural disorder) allowed us to demonstrate the evolutionary associations between changes in protein globules and speciations/duplications events. We discussed their potential involvement in protein-protein interactions and GRN function. Conclusions: We hypothesize that the divergence and/or the specialization of the trichome-forming GRN is linked to the emergence of plant taxa. Information about the structural targets of the protein evolution in the GRN may predict switching points in gene networks functioning in course of evolution. We also propose a list of candidate genes responsible for the development of trichomes in a wide range of plant species.

Original languageEnglish
Article number53
Number of pages15
JournalBMC Plant Biology
Issue numberSuppl 1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2019


  • Combinatorial gene regulation
  • Gene regulatory network
  • Leaf epidermis
  • Protein evolution
  • Trichome
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant/genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins/genetics
  • Gene Regulatory Networks/genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental/genetics
  • Arabidopsis/genetics
  • Phylogeny
  • Trichomes/genetics

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