Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : Background and Aims Post-anthesis colour change (PACC) is widely thought to be an adaptation to signal floral suitability to pollinators. Lotus filicaulis and Lotus sessilifolius are insect-pollinated herbaceous legumes with flowers that open yellow, shift to orange and finally red. This study examines the molecular basis for floral colour change in these Lotus species. Methods Lotus filicaulis was cultivated in a glasshouse from which pollinating insects (bees) were excluded, and the rate of colour change was recorded in both unpollinated and manually pollinated flowers. Unpollinated flowers from both the yellow stage and the red stage were sampled for sequencing. The transcriptomes of L. filicaulis and L. sessilifolius of both colour stages were analysed for differentially expressed genes and enriched ontologies. Key Results The rate of progression through PACC doubled when L. filicaulis was hand-pollinated. De novo assembly of RNA-Seq reads from non-model Lotus species outperformed heterologous alignment of reads to the L. japonicus genome. Differential expression analysis suggested that the carotenoid biosynthetic pathway is upregulated at anthesis while the flavonoid biosynthetic pathway is upregulated with the onset of PACC in L. filicaulis and L. sessilifolius. Conclusion Pollination significantly accelerates PACC in L. filicaulis, consistent with the hypothesis that PACC increases pollination efficiency by directing pollinators to unpollinated flowers. RNA-Seq results show the synchronized upregulation of the entire cyanidin biosynthesis pathway in the red stage of PACC in L. filicaulis and L. sessilifolius. The genes implicated offer the basis for further investigations into how gene families, transcription factors and related pathways are likely to be involved in PACC.