Oakleaf: an S locus-linked mutation of Primula vulgaris that affects leaf and flower development.

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In Primula vulgaris outcrossing is promoted through reciprocal herkogamy with insect-mediated cross-pollination between pin and thrum form flowers. Development of heteromorphic flowers is coordinated by genes at the S locus. To underpin construction of a genetic map facilitating isolation of these S locus genes, we have characterised Oakleaf, a novel S locus-linked mutant phenotype. We combine phenotypic observation of flower and leaf development, with classical genetic analysis and next-generation sequencing to address the molecular basis of Oakleaf. Oakleaf is a dominant mutation that affects both leaf and flower development; plants produce distinctive lobed leaves, with occasional ectopic meristems on the veins. This phenotype is reminiscent of overexpression of Class I KNOX-homeodomain transcription factors. We describe the structure and expression of all eight P. vulgaris PvKNOX genes in both wild-type and Oakleaf plants, and present comparative transcriptome analysis of leaves and flowers from Oakleaf and wild-type plants. Oakleaf provides a new phenotypic marker for genetic analysis of the Primula S locus. We show that none of the Class I PvKNOX genes are strongly upregulated in Oakleaf leaves and flowers, and identify cohorts of 507 upregulated and 314 downregulated genes in the Oakleaf mutant.