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Legume phylogeny and the evolution of a unique contractile apparatus that regulates phloem transport

Peters, Winfried S., Haffer, Dietmar, Hanakam, Claudia B., van Bel, Aart J.E., Knoblauch, Michael
American journal of botany 2010 v.97 no.5 pp. 797-808
Caesalpinioideae, Faboideae, Mimosoideae, body protein, deformation, genes, legumes, phylogeny, sieve tubes
Protein bodies called forisomes undergo Ca²⁺-dependent deformations to occlude sieve tubes reversibly, providing a unique regulatory mechanism of phloem transport. Because forisomes are known exclusively from the Papilionoideae (Leguminosae), the evolution of forisome function may have played a role in the rapid radiation of this huge taxon. The unexpected discovery of a papilionoid species lacking forisomes led us to evaluate a representative set of species covering 33 of the 36 legume tribes traditionally recognized. We found forisomes in Papilionoideae but not in Caesalpinioideae and Mimosoideae. Forisomes were absent from several species of the papilionoid tribe Galegeae. Forisomes with tail-like protrusions occurred less frequently than tailless ones; their distribution correlated with taxonomic units but not sharply enough to render forisome type a reliable criterion for classification. Thus, the distribution of forisome types appeared to reflect physiological variability in the pathways of forisome assembly rather than the evolution of forisome genes. On the other hand, Ca²⁺-dependent forisome deformation and sieve tube plugging occurred in Bobgunnia madagascariensis, a member of the swartzioid clade that presumably is the sister group of all other papilionoids, suggesting that forisomes and their unique mechanism of deformation are a synapomorphy of the Papilionoideae.