The origin of exon 3 skipping of paternal GLOBOSA pre-mRNA in some Nicotiana tabacum lines correlates with a point mutation of the very last nucleotide of the exon
In plants, genome duplication followed by genome diversification and selection is recognized as a major evolutionary process. Rapid epigenetic and genetic changes that affect the transcription of parental genes are frequently observed after polyploidization. The pattern of alternative splicing is also frequently altered, yet the related molecular processes remain largely unresolved. Here, we study the inheritance and expression of parental variants of three floral organ identity genes in allotetraploid tobacco. DEFICIENS and GLOBOSA are B-class genes, and AGAMOUS is a C-class gene. Parental variants of these genes were found to be maintained in the tobacco genome, and the respective mRNAs were present in flower buds in comparable amounts. However, among five tobacco cultivars, we identified two in which the majority of paternal GLOBOSA pre-mRNA transcripts undergo exon 3 skipping, producing an mRNA with a premature termination codon. At the DNA level, we identified a G-A transition at the very last position of exon 3 in both cultivars. Although alternative splicing resulted in a dramatic decrease in full-length paternal GLOBOSA mRNA, no phenotypic effect was observed. Our finding likely serves as an example of the initiation of homoeolog diversification in a relatively young polyploid genome.