Phenotypic plasticity is the ability of one genotype to display different phenotypes under different environmental conditions. Although variation for phenotypic plasticity has been documented in numerous species, little is known about the genetic mechanisms underlying phenotypic plasticity. Given their widespread roles in hormonal and environmental signaling, we examined whether genes which encode heterotrimeric G proteins are plasticity genes. We grew multiple alleles of heterotrimeric G-protein mutants, together with wild-type Arabidopsis thaliana, under different watering regimes to determine the contributions of G-protein genes to phenotypic plasticity for a number of developmental and reproduction-related traits. G-protein mutations did not affect significantly the amount of phenotypic variation within an environment for any trait, but did affect significantly the amount of phenotypic plasticity for certain traits. AGB1, which encodes the β subunit of the heterotrimeric G protein in Arabidopsis, is a plasticity gene and regulates reproductive trait plasticity in response to water availability, resulting in increased fitness (defined as seed production) under drought stress.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science