A chromosome-level genome assembly of the amphibious plant Rorippa aquatica reveals its allotetraploid origin and mechanisms of heterophylly upon submergence

Sakamoto T, Ikeamtsu S, Nakayama H, Mandáková T, Gohari G, Sakamoto T, Li G, Hou H, Matsunaga S, Lysak MA, Kimura S

Communications Biology 7: 431.


The ability to respond to varying environments is crucial for sessile organisms such as plants. The amphibious plant Rorippa aquatica exhibits a striking type of phenotypic plasticity known as heterophylly, a phenomenon in which leaf form is altered in response to environmental factors. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms of heterophylly are yet to be fully understood. To uncover the genetic basis and analyze the evolutionary processes driving heterophylly in R. aquatica, we assembled the chromosome-level genome of the species. Comparative chromosome painting and chromosomal genomics revealed that allopolyploidization and subsequent post-polyploid descending dysploidy occurred during the speciation of R. aquatica. Based on the obtained genomic data, the transcriptome analyses revealed that ethylene signaling plays a central role in regulating heterophylly under submerged conditions, with blue light signaling acting as an attenuator of ethylene signal. The assembled R. aquatica reference genome provides insights into the molecular mechanisms and evolution of heterophylly.