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The making of cauliflowers: the story of unsuccessful flowers

Azpeitia, Eugenio and Tichtinsky, Gabrielle and Le Masson, Marie and Serrano-Mislata, Antonio and Gregis, Veronica and Gimenez, Carlos and Prunet, Nathanaël and Lucas, Jeremy and Farcot, Etienne and Kater, Martin M. and Bradley, Desmond and Madueño, Francisco and Godin, Christophe and Parcy, Francois (2021) The making of cauliflowers: the story of unsuccessful flowers. . (Unpublished)

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The arrangement of plant organs, called phyllotaxis, produce remarkable spiral or whorled patterns. Cauliflowers present a unique phyllotaxis with a multitude of spirals over a wide range of scales. How such a self-similar fractal organization emerges from developmental mechanisms has remained elusive. Combining experimental assays with modeling, we found that cauliflowers arise due to the hysteresis of the bistable floral network that generates inflorescences imprinted by a transient floral state. We further show how additional mutations affecting meristem growth dynamics can induce the production of conical phyllotactic structures reminiscent of the conspicuous fractal Romanesco shape. This study reveals how the spectacular morphological modification of the inflorescences in cauliflower and Romanesco shape arises from the hysteresis of the genetic programs controlling inflorescence development.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Prunet, Nathanaël0000-0002-8939-5920
Godin, Christophe0000-0002-1202-8460
Parcy, Francois0000-0003-2191-500X
Additional Information:The copyright holder for this preprint is the author/funder, who has granted bioRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity. This version posted February 12, 2021. We thank Anne-Marie Chèvre, Teva Vernoux, Chloe Zubieta and Hicham Chahtane for advice, Dominique Tardy, Eric Giraud, Renaud Dumas and Vincent Martin (OBS, France) for providing cauliflower samples, Richard Immink (Wageningen, Netherlands), C. Ferrándiz (IBMCP; Spain), George Coupland (MPIPZ, Germany), Miguel Ángel Blázquez (IBMCP, Spain), Richard Amasino (UWM, USA) and the European Arabidopsis Stock Centre for providing seeds, Vincent Berger (CEA/DRF) for the Keyence microscope, Christine Lancelon-Pin (Plateau de microscopie électronique - ICMG. CERMAV-CNRS) for SEM experiments. This project received support from the INRA Caulimodel project (FP and CG), Inria for the Lab Morphogenetics project (CG), the ANR BBSRC Flower model project (FP and CG), the GRAL LabEX (ANR-10-LABX-49-01) with the frame of the CBH-EUR-GS (ANR-17-EURE-0003), the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia Innovación and FEDER (grant no. PGC2018-099232-B-I00)(FM). Author contributions: ChG and FP conceived the study ChG, EA, EF performed the modelling ASM, CaG, DB, FM, FP, GT, MK, MLM, VG designed and performed the plant experiments NP performed the confocal imaging experiment JL analysed the RNA-seq data ChG, FP and EA wrote the paper with the help of all authors. The authors declare no competing interests.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Institut National de la Recherche AgronomiqueUNSPECIFIED
Agence Nationale pour la Recherche (ANR)ANR-10-LABX-49-01
Agence Nationale pour la Recherche (ANR)ANR-17-EURE-0003
Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (MCINN)PGC2018-099232-B-I00
Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional (FEDER)UNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210216-122056927
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:The making of cauliflowers: the story of unsuccessful flowers. Eugenio Azpeitia, Gabrielle Tichtinsky, Marie Le Masson, Antonio Serrano-Mislata, Veronica Gregis, Carlos Gimenez, Nathanaёl Prunet, Jérémy Lucas, Etienne Farcot, Martin M. Kater, Desmond Bradley, Francisco Madueño, Christophe Godin, Francois Parcy. bioRxiv 2021.02.12.427428; doi:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:108066
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:16 Feb 2021 21:42
Last Modified:16 Feb 2021 21:42

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