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LTP2 hypomorphs show genotype‐by‐environment interaction in early seedling traits in Arabidopsis thaliana

ORCID
0000-0003-0047-0312
Affiliation
University of Washington, Department of Genome Sciences, USA
Alexandre, Cristina M.;
ORCID
0000-0002-1117-2591
Affiliation
University of Washington, Department of Genome Sciences, USA
Bubb, Kerry L.;
Affiliation
University of Washington, Department of Genome Sciences, USA
Schultz, Karla M.;
GND
1220927848
Affiliation
Julius Kühn-Institute (JKI), Institute for Breeding Research on Fruit Crops, Germany
Lempe, Janne;
ORCID
0000-0002-8019-7733
Affiliation
University of Washington, Department of Genome Sciences, USA
Cuperus, Josh T.;
ORCID
0000-0002-0905-4705
Affiliation
University of Washington, Department of Genome Sciences, USA
Queitsch, Christine

  • Isogenic individuals can display seemingly stochastic phenotypic differences, limiting the accuracy of genotype-to-phenotype predictions. The extent of this phenotypic variation depends in part on genetic background, raising questions about the genes involved in controlling stochastic phenotypic variation.
  • Focusing on early seedling traits in Arabidopsis thaliana, we found that hypomorphs of the cuticle-related gene LIPID TRANSFER PROTEIN 2 (LTP2) greatly increased variation in seedling phenotypes, including hypocotyl length, gravitropism and cuticle permeability. Many ltp2 hypocotyls were significantly shorter than wild-type hypocotyls while others resembled the wild-type.
  • Differences in epidermal properties and gene expression between ltp2 seedlings with long and short hypocotyls suggest a loss of cuticle integrity as the primary determinant of the observed phenotypic variation. We identified environmental conditions that reveal or mask the increased variation in ltp2 hypomorphs and found that increased expression of its closest paralog LTP1 is necessary for ltp2 phenotypes.
  • Our results illustrate how decreased expression of a single gene can generate starkly increased phenotypic variation in isogenic individuals in response to an environmental challenge.

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