Establishing Physalisas a new Solanaceae model system enables genetic reevaluation of the inflated calyx syndrome

He, Jia, Alonge, Michael, Ramakrishnan, Srividya, Benoit, Matthias, Soyk, Sebastian, Reem, Nathan, Hendelman, Anat, Eck, Joyce Van, Schatz, Michael, Lippman, Zachary (2022) Establishing Physalisas a new Solanaceae model system enables genetic reevaluation of the inflated calyx syndrome. bioRxiv. (Submitted)

DOI: 10.1101/2022.07.29.502011


The highly diverse Solanaceae family contains several widely studied model and crop species. Fully exploring, appreciating, and exploiting this diversity requires additional model systems. Particularly promising are orphan fruit crops in the genus Physalis, which occupy a key evolutionary position in the Solanaceae and capture understudied variation in traits such as inflorescence complexity, fruit ripening and metabolites, disease and insect resistance, self-compatibility, and most notable, the striking Inflated Calyx Syndrome (ICS), an evolutionary novelty found across angiosperms where sepals grow exceptionally large to encapsulate fruits in a protective husk. We recently developed transformation and genome editing in Physalis grisea (groundcherry). However, to systematically explore and unlock the potential of this and related Physalis as genetic systems, high-quality genome assemblies are needed. Here, we present chromosome-scale references for P. grisea and its close relative P. pruinosa and use these resources to study natural and engineered variation in floral traits. We first rapidly identified a natural structural variant in a bHLH gene that causes petal color variation. Further, and against expectations, we found that CRISPR-Cas9 targeted mutagenesis of 11 MADS-box genes, including purported essential regulators of ICS, had no effect on inflation. In a forward genetics screen, we identified huskless, which lacks ICS due to mutation of an AP2-like gene that causes sepals and petals to merge into a single whorl of mixed identity. These resources and findings elevate Physalis to a new Solanaceae model system, and establish a new paradigm for the search of factors driving ICS.

Item Type: Paper
Subjects: Investigative techniques and equipment
Investigative techniques and equipment > CRISPR-Cas9
organism description > plant
CSHL Authors:
Communities: CSHL labs > Lippman lab
CSHL labs > Schatz lab
SWORD Depositor: CSHL Elements
Depositing User: CSHL Elements
Date: 2022
Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2023 14:16
Last Modified: 27 Dec 2023 16:04
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