Flowering of strict photoperiodic Nicotiana variaties in non-inductive conditions by transgenic approaches

The genus Nicotiana contains species and varieties that respond differently to photoperiod for flowering time control as day-neutral, short-day and long-day plants. In classical photoperiodism studies, these varieties have been widely used to analyse the physiological nature for floral induction by day length. Since key regulators for flowering time control by day length have been identified in Arabidopsis thaliana by molecular genetic studies, it was intriguing to analyse how closely related plants in the Nicotiana genus with opposite photoperiodic requirements respond to certain flowering time regulators. SUPPRESSOR OF OVEREXPRESSION OF CONSTANS 1 (SOC1) and FRUITFULL (FUL) are two MADS box genes that are involved in the regulation of flowering time in Arabidopsis. SOC1 is a central flowering time pathway integrator, whereas the exact role of FUL for floral induction has not been established yet. The putative Nicotiana orthologs of SOC1 and FUL, NtSOC1 and NtFUL, were studied in day-neutral tobacco Nicotiana tabacum cv Hicks, in short-day tobacco N. tabacum cv Hicks Maryland Mammoth (MM) and long-day N. sylvestris plants. Both genes were similarly expressed under short- and long-day conditions in day-neutral and short-day tobaccos, but showed a different expression pattern in N. sylvestris. Overexpression of NtSOC1 and NtFUL caused flowering either in strict short-day (NtSOC1) or long-day (NtFUL) Nicotiana varieties under non-inductive photoperiods, indicating that these genes might be limiting for floral induction under non-inductive conditions in different Nicotiana varieties.

Smykal, P., Gennen, J., De Bodt, S., Ranganath, V., Melzer, S. (2007) Flowering of strict photoperiodic Nicotiana variaties in non-inductive conditions by transgenic approaches. Plant Mol. Biol. 65(3):233-42.

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