Plant life cycles alternate between haploid gametophytes and diploid sporophytes. While regulatory factors determining male and female sexual morphologies have been identified for sporophytic reproductive organs, such as stamens and pistils of angiosperms, those regulating sex-specific traits in the haploid gametophytes that produce male and female gametes and hence are central to plant sexual reproduction are poorly understood. Here, we identified a MYB-type transcription factor, MpFGMYB, as a key regulator of female sexual differentiation in the haploid-dominant dioicous liverwort, Marchantia polymorpha. MpFGMYB is specifically expressed in females and its loss resulted in female-to-male sex conversion. Strikingly, MpFGMYB expression is suppressed in males by a cis-acting antisense gene SUF at the same locus, and loss-of-function suf mutations resulted in male-to-female sex conversion. Thus, the bidirectional transcription module at the MpFGMYB/SUF locus acts as a toggle between female and male sexual differentiation in M. polymorpha gametophytes. Arabidopsis thaliana MpFGMYB orthologs are known to be expressed in embryo sacs and promote their development. Thus, phylogenetically related MYB transcription factors regulate female gametophyte development across land plants.
The basal land plant liverwort spends most of its life cycle in a haploid state with distinct male and female morphology. A conserved MYB-type transcription factor regulates the sexual differentiation process, suggesting a shared origin for gamete formation in plants.
Life cycles in land plants alternate between a haploid gametophyte, in which male and female gametes are produced, and a diploid sporophyte, which produces haploid spores via meiosis. Sexual differentiation in land plants is best characterized in flowering plants, where male- and female-specific organs of the sporophyte produce male and female gametophytes, respectively. Thus, in flowering plants, sexual development occurs sequentially in sporophyte and gametophyte generations. In contrast, in earlier diverging lineages of land plants, i.e., non-seed plants, little or no sexual differentiation is evident in the sporophytic generation, with sexual differentiation occurring essentially exclusively in the gametophyte generation.
In the context of land plants, sexual differentiation has been investigated in flowering plants wherein the specification of male and female sporophytic floral organs, i.e., stamens and pistils, by the ABC genes has been elucidated (Schwarz-Sommer et al, 1990; Bowman et al, 1991). One plausible hypothesis is that the sexual differentiation of the sporophyte is imposed upon the retained gametophytes developing within the sporophytic tissues. Thus, during land plant evolution, sexual differentiation has shifted from a purely gametophytic program to a situation where the sporophyte controls sexual differentiation of gametophytes. However, it is an open question whether there exist regulators of gametophytic sexual differentiation that are conserved across land plants.
To decipher the mechanisms by which gametophytic sexual differentiation is established in land plants, it is essential to study sexual differentiation in basal lineages. The liverwort Marchantia polymorpha, a recently revived model bryophyte, provides a unique opportunity to study sexual differentiation in gametophytes (Bowman, 2016; Shimamura, 2016; Bowman et al, 2017). Marchantia polymorpha has several attributes facilitating investigation of the genetic regulation of sexual reproduction such as clear sexual dimorphism in the dominant gametophyte phase and asexual propagation through gemmae formation that allows maintenance of gamete-lethal mutants, in addition to general advantages as a model plant species such as available genome sequence and efficient genetic manipulation techniques (Ishizaki et al, 2016; Bowman et al, 2017; Sugano et al, 2018). Taking advantage of these attributes, recent studies utilizing M. polymorpha have revealed several key factors controlling critical steps of sexual plant reproduction (Koi et al, 2016; Rövekamp et al, 2016; Nakajima, 2017; Yamaoka et al, 2018).
In the reproductive phase of their haploid-dominant life cycle, M. polymorpha plants exhibit sexual dimorphism depending on the presence of either female (X) or male (Y) sex chromosomes (Fig 1; Bowman et al, 2017; Shimamura, 2016; Yamato et al, 2007; here, we use X and Y, not U and V, according to the convention of liverwort researchers). Female gametophytes form sexual branches with finger-like rays (archegoniophores) at the apical notch region (meristem) of a vegetative structure called the thallus. Female sexual organs (archegonia) develop at the base of each ray, and a single egg cell differentiates in each archegonium (Fig 1A). In a similar manner, male gametophytes form sexual branches with a disk-shaped morphology (antheridiophores), in which male sexual organs (antheridia) develop and eventually produce motile sperm (Fig 1B). While classical genetic studies predict the existence of a dominant “Feminizer” on the X chromosome (Haupt, 1932), mechanisms controlling sexual differentiation of M. polymorpha are largely unknown. In contrast, in angiosperms with a diploid-dominant life cycle, female and male gametophytes are highly reduced to seven-celled embryo sacs and three-celled pollen grains, respectively, and their sex-specific differentiation is dependent upon the sporophytic generation (Fig 1C).
In this study, we identified a cis-acting bidirectional transcription module as a toggle switch between female and male differentiation in M. polymorpha. This module consists of MpFGMYB, encoding an ortholog of previously identified regulators of female gametophyte development in Arabidopsis thaliana, and its antisense gene SUF producing a long non-coding RNA (lncRNA). Our study suggests that members of this MYB subfamily regulate female sexual differentiation in the haploid growth phase of land plants, while their sex-specific expression is likely regulated by divergent inputs.
Conserved MYB transcription factors are specifically expressed in the female gametophytes of Marchantia polymorpha and Arabidopsis thaliana
To identify evolutionarily conserved regulators of female sexual differentiation in land plants, we compared transcriptome datasets of archegonia and thalli of M. polymorpha (see Data availability). Genes preferentially expressed in archegonia were screened and further selected for enrichment of related genes in the published transcriptome datasets of A. thaliana female gametophytes (embryo sacs; Yu et al, 2005; Steffen et al, 2007; Wuest et al, 2010). Among the 23 genes thus identified (Table EV1), we focused on Mapoly0001s0061 encoding a MYB-type transcription factor. In a phylogenetic tree constructed from the amino acid sequences of MYB domains, Mapoly0001s0061 was found to be closely related to three Arabidopsis genes, AtMYB64, AtMYB119, and AtMYB98, as well as two homologs in the moss Physcomitrella patens (Fig 2A and B). Because our genetic analyses indicated a role of Mapoly0001s0061 in female gametophyte development in M. polymorpha (see below) as do the three Arabidopsis homologs in the embryo sac, the female gametophytes of flowering plants (Kasahara et al, 2005; Punwani et al, 2007; Rabiger & Drews, 2013), we named Mapoly0001s0061 FEMALE GAMETOPHYTE MYB (MpFGMYB), following the Marchantia nomenclatural guidelines (Bowman et al, 2016), and hereafter refer to the clade including these genes as the FGMYB subfamily (Fig 2A).
PCR analyses detected MpFGMYB in both male and female genomic DNAs, indicating the autosomal localization of MpFGMYB (Fig 2C). As expected from the transcriptome data (Bowman et al, 2017), MpFGMYB was predominantly expressed in the archegoniophores of female plants and the sporophytes (Fig 2D). Plants harboring a transcriptional MpFGMYB reporter construct (MpFGMYBpro:Citrine-NLS:MpFGMYB3′) exhibited reporter fluorescence in the archegonia (Fig 2E). In a functionally complemented translational reporter line (gMpFGMYBresist-Citrine, see below), Citrine fluorescence was localized in the nuclei of rescued archegonia (Fig 2F). As reported previously (Rabiger & Drews, 2013; Waki et al, 2013), our transcriptional and translational reporters for AtMYB64 were specifically expressed in embryo sacs of A. thaliana (Fig 2G and H; Rabiger & Drews, 2013; Waki et al, 2013).
Loss-of-function MpFGMYB alleles confer a male morphology to female liverworts
Previous studies demonstrated that AtMYB64 and AtMYB119 have critical roles in the development of the embryo sac (Rabiger & Drews, 2013). Similarly, another gene, AtMYB98, is known to be required for the differentiation and function of the synergids, two of the seven cells constituting the embryo sac (Kasahara et al, 2005; Punwani et al, 2007). Thus, the preferential expression of MpFGMYB in the liverwort archegonia suggests that the FGMYB genes have evolutionarily conserved roles in the development of female gametophytes in land plants. To explore this possibility, we generated knockout mutants of MpFGMYB using clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/CRISPR-associated endonuclease 9 (CRISPR/Cas9) technology (Sugano et al, 2018). We obtained four independent loss-of-function Mpfgmyb lines with insertions or deletions that created premature stop codons in the MYB domain-coding region (Fig 3A and Appendix Fig S1A), of which three (Mpfgmyb-1ge, Mpfgmyb-2ge, Mpfgmyb-6ge) were genetically female, while the other (Mpfgmyb-4ge) was genetically male (diagnosed by sex chromosome-linked markers; Fig 3B and Appendix Fig S1C).
The Mpfgmyb mutants were morphologically indistinguishable from the wild-type plants during the vegetative growth period (Appendix Fig S2). Genetically male Mpfgmyb mutants (hereafter designated Mpfgmyb [Y]) were also indistinguishable from wild-type males during reproductive growth (Fig 3F, G, K and L). By contrast, genetically female Mpfgmyb mutants (hereafter designated Mpfgmyb [X]) exhibited a striking sex conversion phenotype; antheridiophores developed in place of archegoniophores (Figs 3C and D, and EV2A). Furthermore, the antheridiophores of Mpfgmyb [X] contained antheridia (Fig 3I, compare with 3H, and Fig EV2B). These phenotypes were rescued by introducing a MpFGMYB genomic fragment containing synonymous mutations to resist the remaining CRISPR/Cas9 activity (gMpFGMYBresist) in the mutants (Fig 3E and J, and Appendix Fig S1B), confirming a causal relationship between the female-to-male sex conversion phenotype of Mpfgmyb [X] and the loss of MpFGMYB function.
The sex conversion phenotype of Mpfgmyb [X] could also be rescued by expressing MpFGMYB-Citrine fusion proteins under the same regulatory sequences as those used in the transcriptional reporter lines (gMpFGMYBresist-Citrine; Fig 2F). This line exhibited no Citrine florescence in the apical notch region of vegetative thalli (Fig EV1A and B). After induction of reproductive growth by far-red (FR) light treatment (Ishizaki et al, 2016), MpFGMYB-Citrine proteins accumulate in ventral apical notch regions where archegoniophores will develop (Fig EV1A and C), and later in developing archegoniophores (Fig EV1A and D), consistent with the requirement of MpFGMYB in female sexual differentiation of M. polymorpha.
Mpfgmyb mutant females produce sperm with nearly normal morphology but lacking motility
The results presented so far indicate a key role for MpFGMYB in the female sexual differentiation of M. polymorpha. In its absence, male sexual differentiation proceeds as the default program. This female-dominant mode of sex differentiation is consistent with the classical observation that rare diploid gametophytes of M. polymorpha carrying both X and Y chromosomes exhibit a female morphology (Haupt, 1932); however, it was still unclear whether the loss of MpFGMYB function alone was sufficient to generate functional sperm in the absence of the Y chromosome.
To address this question, we performed a histological analysis and found that spermiogenesis proceeds in Mpfgmyb [X] essentially as it does in the wild-type and Mpfgmyb [Y] antheridia (Fig EV2C–J). Moreover, sperm collected from Mpfgmyb [X] antheridia exhibited nuclear condensation and flagella formation (Fig 4A–C). Consistently, two autosomal genes implicated in sperm morphogenesis and known to be specifically expressed in the antheridiophores, PROTAMINE-LIKE (MpRPM) and DYNINE LIGHT CHAIN7 (MpLC7; Higo et al, 2016), were expressed in the antheridiophores of Mpfgmyb [X] (Fig 4D). Furthermore, while the expression of the archegoniophore-specific autosomal genes was suppressed in Mpfgmyb [X], X chromosome-linked genes expressed in vegetative thalli (Bowman et al, 2017) were still expressed in Mpfgmyb [X] antheridia (Fig EV3A). These data indicate that the feminization capacity of MpFGMYB is primarily associated with the sex-specific expression of autosomal genes involved in sexual differentiation, and not with the expression of sex chromosome-linked genes.
The sperm of Mpfgmyb [X] plants exhibited abnormal morphologies, such as incompletely condensed nuclei and short flagella (Fig 4B, compare with 4A and C). Transmission electron microscopy revealed that most Mpfgmyb [X] flagella had irregular axonemes, lacking the “9 + 2” arrangement of microtubules (Carothers & Kreitner, 1968) typically seen in wild-type sperm (Fig 4E and F). Consistently, sperm produced in Mpfgmyb [X] antheridia were immotile and did not enter wild-type archegonia (Fig EV3B–D). Thus, while the loss of MpFGMYB function resulted in an almost complete female-to-male sex conversion, the formation of functional sperm requires additional factors that are likely encoded by the Y chromosome (Bowman et al, 2017).
Expression of MpFGMYB is suppressed by its cis-acting antisense gene SUF in males
The striking sex conversion phenotype caused by the autosomal Mpfgmyb mutations raised the question as to how MpFGMYB expression is tightly suppressed in males. A close inspection of our RNA sequencing data revealed the male-specific accumulation of antisense lncRNAs derived from the MpFGMYB locus (Fig 5A and B), which we named SUPPRESSOR OF FEMINIZATION (SUF). Real-time RT–PCR analyses revealed that SUF transcripts accumulated in male gametophytes and in sporophytes, while negligible accumulation was detected in female gametophytes. In male gametophytes, antheridiophores accumulated a significantly higher amount of SUF transcripts than thalli (Fig EV4A). Importantly, 5′ and 3′ RACE PCR revealed an invariable 5′ end and a polyadenylation site of SUF transcripts, indicating that SUF constitutes a strictly defined transcription unit of RNA polymerase II (Appendix Fig S3). Strand-specific RT–PCR analyses confirmed SUF transcript accumulation in wild-type males both before and after the induction of sexual reproductive growth by far-red irradiation (Fig EV4B).
The mutually exclusive expression patterns of MpFGMYB and SUF in gametophytes suggested a possible regulatory mechanism in which SUF suppresses MpFGMYB expression in the males, as has been reported for other antisense lncRNAs (Xue et al, 2014; Kopp & Mendell, 2018). To test this possibility, we deleted a 1-kb region at the predicted transcription start site (TSS) of SUF in the wild-type males using genome editing, without affecting the MpFGMYB-coding sequence (Fig 5A and Appendix Fig S4). As expected, the resulting male mutants (hereafter designated sufge [Y]) lost SUF expression and instead gained MpFGMYB expression after the induction of reproductive growth by far-red irradiation (Fig 5B). Furthermore, sufge [Y] plants formed archegoniophores and archegonia that expressed autosomal genes whose expression is female-specific in the wild type (Bowman et al, 2017), the opposite phenotype to that of Mpfgmyb [X] (Figs 5C and D, and EV5). However, archegonia produced in sufge [Y] did not produce egg cells, suggesting that this process may require the function of genes present on the X chromosome (Fig 5D). This male-to-female sex conversion phenotype was suppressed by additional loss-of-function mutations in the MpFGMYB-coding region (sufge Mpfgmybge [Y]; Figs 5A, E, F, and EV5, and Appendix Fig S4). Furthermore, male plants lacking the entire MpFGMYB/SUF locus (designated complete deletion [Y]) developed normal antheridiophores and antheridia expressing the male-specific genes (Figs 5A, G, H, and EV5, and Appendix Fig S4). These data indicate that the male-to-female sex conversion phenotype of suf [Y] is caused by the misexpression of MpFGMYB. Taken together, our data support the notion that SUF suppresses MpFGMYB expression in males and thereby allows a default male differentiation program to proceed.
To determine whether SUF suppresses MpFGMYB expression in cis or in trans, we made a SUF overexpression construct using the strong constitutive MpEF1α promoter (Althoff et al, 2014) and introduced it to sufge [Y] in a non-targeted manner. Interestingly, SUF overexpression did not rescue the sex conversion phenotype of sufge [Y] (Fig 6A), despite strong accumulation of SUF transcripts (Fig 6B). Furthermore, genetically male plants harboring an MpFGMYB transgene lacking the putative SUF promoter and the TSS (gMpFGMYB-S [Y]; Fig 6C) accumulated MpFGMYB transcripts to the level comparable to or higher than that of wild-type females (Fig 6D) and morphologically converted to females (Fig 6E and F). In contrast, genetically male plants harboring the entire MpFGMYB/SUF locus as a transgene, i.e., containing the putative SUF promoter and the TSS (gMpFGMYB-L; Fig 6C), did not accumulate MpFGMYB transcripts to the level comparable to wild-type females (Fig 6D) and retained male morphologies (Fig 6G and H). These observations indicate a key role of SUF transcription in suppressing MpFGMYB at the same locus in males, and inability of the endogenous SUF locus to suppress unlinked transgenic copies of MpFGMYB. Taken together, these data indicate that SUF-mediated MpFGMYB suppression is locus-specific and hence acts in cis.
In most multicellular eukaryotes, sexual differentiation initially takes place in diploid reproductive organs that later produce, via meiosis, haploid gametes with the diploid body remaining functional and supporting fertilization and embryogenesis in case of placental organisms. Accordingly, sexual differentiation in land plants has been mainly studied from the perspective of the development of the diploid sporophytic organs, such as pistils and stamens of angiosperms. In contrast with the elaborate sexual morphologies of sporophytic organs, female and male gametophytes of angiosperms are reduced to seven-celled embryo sacs and three-celled pollen grains, respectively, making it difficult to study gametophytic sexual differentiation controls central to gametogenesis. A recently revived model bryophyte, M. polymorpha, exhibits conspicuous sexual dimorphism in their haploid-dominant growth phase and thus provides a unique opportunity to study sexual differentiation in gametophytes.
In this study, an autosomal MpFGMYB was identified as a gene specifically expressed in the female sexual organ of M. polymorpha (Fig 2), and loss-of-function Mpfgmyb mutants exhibited a nearly complete female-to-male sex conversion phenotype (Figs 3 and 4). Furthermore, antisense transcription of MpFGMYB occurs specifically in males, and disruption of this antisense gene, SUF, led to misexpression of MpFGMYB and acquisition of nearly complete female morphology in males (Fig 5). Classical genetic studies suggested a female-dominant mode of sex determination system in M. polymorpha (reviewed in Bowman, 2016). Based on this notion, an attractive hypothesis is that expression of SUF is suppressed by a presumptive sex determinant (Feminizer) encoded by the X chromosome (Fig 7B; Haupt, 1932). In the absence of Feminizer, SUF suppresses MpFGMYB expression, allowing a default male differentiation program to proceed (Fig 7A).
Combined with the previously identified functions of FGMYB genes in female gametophyte development and synergid functions in A. thaliana (Fig 7C; Kasahara et al, 2005; Punwani et al, 2007; Rabiger & Drews, 2013), our study revealed that closely related R2R3 MYB-type transcription factors regulate female gametophyte development across the land plant lineage. Importantly, FGMYBs function during the haploid phase of the life cycle in both A. thaliana and M. polymorpha, implying that this was also the condition in the ancestral land plant. Thus, the ancient female gametophyte-promoting functions of FGMYBs appear to be retained in the embryo sac, the highly reduced female gametophyte of flowering plants (Fig 7C), while remaining responsible for the conspicuous sexual morphologies in the gametophytes of extant liverworts (Fig 7B). To what extent FGMYBs regulate conserved sets of target genes across the land plant lineage, however, remains an open question, as female gametophytes have been considerably diversified in morphology, while retaining their central function, egg cell production, in the course of land plant evolution.
It should be also noted that among the additional four A. thaliana genes in the FGMYB clade (Fig 2A), AtMYB115 and AtMYB118 are known to activate fatty acid synthesis in the endosperm (Troncoso-Ponce et al, 2016). Thus, at least some FGMYB homologs function transiently after fertilization. Considering the expression of MpFGMYB in the sporophytes of M. polymorpha (Fig 2D), it is also possible that MpFGMYB functions are also not limited to the gametophytes. As Mpfgmyb mutants are infertile, investigation of its sporophytic functions requires elaborate transgenic plants where MpFGMYB expression can be temporally controlled. Alternatively, the sporophytic function of AtMYB115 and AtMYB118 may have been acquired by evolutionary cooption of originally gametophytic regulators to the sporophytic functions, as we have previously proposed for the RKD genes family (Koi et al, 2016). In our RT–PCR data, MpFGMYB and SUF are apparently coexpressed in the sporophytes (Figs 2D and EV4A). A trivial interpretation of this would be a relaxed suppression reflecting little or no functional roles of MpFGMYB in the sporophytes. Alternatively, this may reflect requirement of MpFGMYB functions in limited time and/or space in the sporophytes as the SUF-mediated suppression should be cell-specific.
In animals, a plethora of sex determination pathways converge on a set of key regulators of sexual differentiation (Gamble & Zarkower, 2012; Bachtrog et al, 2014). Similarly, in this study we demonstrate that members of the FGMYB subfamily are regulators of female gametophyte development in two divergent lineages spanning the phylogenetic diversity of land plants, but that FGMYB regulation is under control of different sex determination mechanisms. In M. polymorpha, MpFGMYB expression is downstream of a chromosomal sex determination locus in the free-living gametophyte generation. In contrast, in the derived gametophyte of flowering plants, FGMYB has been placed downstream of sporophytic sexual differentiation programs upon acquisition of the diploid-dominant life style in the lineage leading to the extant seed plants (Fig 7C). Identification of upstream factors activating FGMYB expression in A. thaliana, as well as comparative studies along the land plant lineage between bryophytes and flowering plants, will help elucidate how gametophytic sexual differentiation programs were incorporated into the regulatory networks governing sporophytic reproductive development.
Our genetic analyses also revealed that SUF can suppress MpFGMYB expression only in cis. Although lncRNA-mediated regulation of gene expression has been reported for a large variety of physiological and developmental processes in plants, as in fungi, yeasts, and animals (see Kopp & Mendell, 2018; Liu et al, 2015 for review), only in few cases are plant lncRNAs shown to act in cis. In the case of vernalization-induced suppression of FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC) in A. thaliana, the antisense lncRNA COOLAIR initially forms dense clouds at the locus from which it is transcribed, and this leads to changes in epigenetic state to stabilize suppression (Csorba et al, 2014; Rosa et al, 2016; Yuan et al, 2016). Similarly, expression of DELAY OF GERMINATION1 (DOG1) is suppressed during seed maturation in A. thaliana by its antisense RNA asDOG1 in an allele-specific manner (Fedak et al, 2016). Although SUF shares many similarities with COOLAIR and asDOG1, such as defined molecular organization and cis-acting mode of suppression, molecular mechanisms by which the SUF lncRNAs (or SUF transcription per se) suppresses MpFGMYB expression are yet to be investigated.
Materials and Methods
Amino acid sequences of the R2R3-type MYB proteins in clades 11, 12, and 14–16 (Bowman et al, 2017) were used in the phylogenetic analysis. These sequences were retrieved using the MarpolBase (http://marchantia.info/), Phytozome (https://phytozome.jgi.doe.gov/), and TAIR (https://www.arabidopsis.org/) databases (Rensing et al, 2008; Dubos et al, 2010; Bowman et al, 2017). Regions encompassing the ~110-residue MYB domain were aligned using the MUSCLE program (Edgar, 2004) in AliView v1.18.1 (Larsson, 2014). After manually removing the gaps, a phylogenetic tree was constructed using the maximum-likelihood algorithm based on the Le_Gascuel_2008 model (Felsenstein, 1981; Le & Gascuel, 2008) and evaluated using a bootstrap method (Felsenstein, 1985) with 1000 replicates in MEGA7 (Kumar et al, 2016).
Male and female accessions of M. polymorpha, L. subsp. ruderalis, Takaragaike-1 (Tak-1), and Takaragaike-2 (Tak-2; Ishizaki et al, 2016), respectively, were cultured on half-strength Gamborg's B5 medium solidified with 1% (w/v) agar under continuous white light at 22°C. Plants were maintained asexually and propagated through the gemma. To induce reproductive development, 10-day-old thalli were transferred to half-strength Gamborg's B5 medium containing 1% (w/v) sucrose solidified with 1.4% (w/v) agar and illuminated with far-red LED lamps (VBL-TFL600-IR730; IPROS Co., Tokyo, Japan) in addition to white light.
Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh accession Col-0 was used as the wild type. The AtMYB64pro:NYG transcriptional reporter line was described previously (Waki et al, 2013). Seeds of myb64-4 (SAIL_876_E05) and myb119-3 (SALK_120501) were obtained from the Arabidopsis Biological Resource Center (Columbus, OH) and backcrossed twice with wild-type plants. The gAtMYB64-Citrine translational reporter lines were generated by introducing the pBIN41-gAtMYB64-Citrine construct described in Appendix Supplementary Methods into the plants homozygous for the myb64-4 and heterozygous for the myb119-3 alleles.
Plasmids used in this study were constructed using gateway cloning system (Ishizaki et al, 2015) or SLiCE method (Motohashi, 2015). Primers used for DNA construction are listed in Table EV2. See Appendix Supplementary Methods for details.
Generation of transgenic Marchantia polymorpha
The genome editing constructs pMpGE010_MpFGMYBge01, pMpGE010_MpFGMYBge02, pMpGE018_SUFge, and pMpGE018_complete-deletion (see Appendix Supplementary Methods for details) were introduced into M. polymorpha as described previously (Ishizaki et al, 2008). Other constructs were introduced essentially as described previously (Kubota et al, 2013). For mutant isolation and sex diagnosis, gRNA-targeted regions of MpFGMYB were amplified from the genomic DNAs prepared from the thalli of T1 plants using the primer pairs ge01-Fw/ge01-Rv and ge02Fw/ge02-Rv for MpFGMYBge01 and MpFGMYBge02, respectively. PCR products were directly sequenced using Bigdye Terminator v3.1 (Thermo Fisher Scientific) and the primers ge01-Fw or ge02-Fw. The genetic sex of the Mpfgmybge lines was diagnosed as described previously (Fujisawa et al, 2001) using the primer sets listed in Table EV2.
Histology and microscopy
Excised tissues were fixed with a formaldehyde/acetic acid (FAA) solution overnight at 4°C, and then dehydrated in an ethanol series and embedded in Technovit 7100 resin (Heraeus Kulzer, Hanau, Germany). Sections of 2 μm thickness were made using a Leica RM2155 microtome (Leica Microsystems, Wetzlar, Germany) and stained with toluidine blue. Image contrast was enhanced equally over the entire area using the Fiji program (Schindelin et al, 2012).
Confocal laser scanning microscopy was carried out using a Nikon C2 confocal laser scanning microscope (Nikon Instech, Tokyo, Japan). Archegonia were stained with 0.4% (v/v) SCRI Renaissance 2200 (Renaissance Chemicals, Selby, UK; Musielak et al, 2015) in 4% (w/v) paraformaldehyde and 1× PBS. Sperm released from antheridiophores were collected by centrifugation and stained with 1 μg/ml DAPI in 4% (w/v) paraformaldehyde and 1× PBS. Stained sperm were dropped on a slide glass and dried up by incubating for a few minutes at room temperature, then observed using a confocal microscope. The sperm attraction assay was performed as described previously (Koi et al, 2016).
For electron microscopy, the excised tissues were transferred to vials containing a fixative solution composed of 4% (v/v) glutaraldehyde and 0.05 M phosphate buffer (pH 7.0), and then vacuum-infiltrated until the specimens sank to the bottom. After fixation for 6 h at room temperature, samples were rinsed with 0.05 M phosphate buffer and post-fixed in 1% (w/v) osmium tetroxide for 3 h at 4°C. The samples were dehydrated in a graded ethanol series and embedded in Spurr's plastic resin using a graded series of propylene oxide and the resin. Ultra-thin sections (80 nm) were prepared with a diamond knife on an ultramicrotome (Ultracut R; Leica Microsystems). Sections were stained sequentially with uranyl acetate and lead citrate, and then observed under a transmission electron microscope (JEM 1010; JEOL, Tokyo, Japan).
We thank Masako Kanda for providing technical assistance, Dr. Keisuke Inoue for providing the CRISPR/Cas (D10A) vectors, and Dr. Shunsuke Miyashima and Dr. Ryosuke Sano for helpful discussion. This work was supported by MEXT KAKENHI grants 17J08430 to TH, 25113007 to KN, 17H05841 and 18K06285 to SY, 25113009 and 17H07424 to TKo, and an Australian Research Council grant DP170100049 to JLB. TH was supported by a JSPS Fellowship for Young Scientists.
TH, KO, MS, SY, TKa, KTY, and KN performed experiments and/or omics data analyses. TH, KO, SY, RN, KTY, JLB, TKo, and KN designed the project. TH, JLB and KN wrote the manuscript. All authors jointly interpreted the data and thoroughly checked the manuscript.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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