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Genes Genet Syst. 2006 Feb;81(1):13-20.

WFL, a wheat FLORICAULA/LEAFY ortholog, is associated with spikelet formation as lateral branch of the inflorescence meristem.

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Department of Bioscience, Fukui Prefectural University, Japan.


FLORICAULA (FLO) of Antirrhinum and LEAFY (LFY) of Arabidopsis encode plant-specific transcription factors, which are necessary and sufficient to specify floral meristem identity. We isolated WFL, a wheat FLO/LFY ortholog, and analyzed its expression pattern. RT-PCR analysis indicated that WFL is expressed predominantly in young spike. The WFL expression pattern during reproductive development was analyzed in more detail by using in situ hybridization technique. WFL transcripts were observed in all layers of the young spike excepting spikelet initiation sites as axillary meristem. In the double-ridge stage, WFL transcripts were localized in the lower ridge but were absent in the upper ridge, where spikelet meristem initiates. The WFL expression pattern indicated that WFL is associated with spikelet formation rather than floral meristem identity in wheat. As development of floret proceeds, the WFL transcripts were detectable in the developing palea, but not in other floral organs, suggesting that WFL may play a novel role in developing palea in the wheat floret.

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