Adaptomics of neofunctionalization: analysis of
GORDITA-like genes in Brassicaceae

Project code: TH 417/9-1

The project is carried out in cooperation with the labs of Annette Becker (Gießen) and Klaus Mummenhoff (Osnabrück). We investigate how the origin of a single developmental control gene, GORDITA (GOA), by gene duplication and sequence divergence contributed to plant fitness and adaptation in the Brassicaceae. While the ancestral Bsister genes (ABS-type genes) are involved in ovule development, the derived GOA-type genes acquired a new expression domain and function in fruit development. By comprehensive comparative analyses involving GOA-type and ABS-type genes from diverse Brassicales species we will investigate when the lineage that led to extant GOA-type genes originated, and by which molecular mechanisms these genes acquired their unique expression patterns, domain structures, and function during fruit development. To better understand how the ancestors of GOA escaped 'Ohno's dilemma' we will analyze the molecular evolution in the different branches of Bsister genes during the phylogeny of Brassicales employing in silico methods. To assess how the origin of GOA-type genes contributed to the adaptation of Brassicaceae species we will determine proxies of plant fitness under greenhouse conditions using transgenic knock-out plants, and will do preparative work for future determination of plant fitness under natural growth conditions using non-transgenic mutants. Work in the Theißen lab is focused on the molecular evolution of GOA-type genes and on the determination of fitness proxies of goa mutants.

Publications related to the project

  • Erdmann R, Gramzow L, Melzer R, Theißen G, Becker A. GORDITA (AGL63) is a young paralog of the Arabidopsis thaliana Bsister MADS box gene ABS (TT16) that has undergone neofunctionalization. Plant Journal 63: 914-924 (2010). Weblink
  • Kaufmann, K, Anfang, N, Saedler, H and Theißen, G Mutant analysis, protein-protein interactions and subcellular localization of the ArabidopsisBsister (ABS) protein. Mol Genet Genomics 274, 103-118 (2005). Weblink
  • Becker A, Kaufmann K, Freialdenhoven A, Vincent C, Li MA, Saedler H, Theißen G. A novel MADS-box gene subfamily with a sistergroup relationship to class B floral homeotic genes. Mol Genet Genomics 266: 942-9504 (2002). Weblink



  • Günter Theißen
    Prof. Dr. Günter Theißen
    Principal Investigator
    University of Jena
    Office: +49 (0)3641 / 949550
    send email
  • Nina Kottenhagen
    Nina Kottenhagen, Ph. D. student
    Researcher in SPP1529
    Office: +49 (0)3641/ 9-49563
    send email
  • Heidi Kreßler
    Heidi Kreßler, technical assistant

Linked Projects

  • PI Annette Becker
    University of Gießen
    BE 2547/9-1
  • PI Klaus Mummenhoff
    University of Osnabrück
    MU 1137/9-1