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Plant Physiol. 2005 Aug;138(4):2354-63. Epub 2005 Jul 15.

TaVRT-2, a member of the StMADS-11 clade of flowering repressors, is regulated by vernalization and photoperiod in wheat.

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Département des Sciences Biologiques, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3C 3P8.


The initiation of the reproductive phase in winter cereals is delayed during winter until favorable growth conditions resume in the spring. This delay is modulated by low temperature through the process of vernalization. The molecular and genetic bases of the interaction between environmental factors and the floral transition in these species are still unknown. However, the recent identification of the wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) TaVRT-1 gene provides an opportunity to decipher the molecular basis of the flowering-time regulation in cereals. Here, we describe the characterization of another gene, named TaVRT-2, possibly involved in the flowering pathway in wheat. Molecular and phylogenetic analyses indicate that the gene encodes a member of the MADS-box transcription factor family that belongs to a clade responsible for flowering repression in several species. Expression profiling of TaVRT-2 in near-isogenic lines and different genotypes with natural variation in their response to vernalization and photoperiod showed a strong relationship with floral transition. Its expression is up-regulated in the winter genotypes during the vegetative phase and in photoperiod-sensitive genotypes during short days, and is repressed by vernalization to a level that allows the transition to the reproductive phase. Protein-protein interaction studies revealed that TaVRT-2 interacts with proteins encoded by two important vernalization genes (TaVRT-1/VRN-1 and VRN-2) in wheat. These results support the hypothesis that TaVRT-2 is a putative repressor of the floral transition in wheat.

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