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Plant Cell Physiol. 2009 Feb;50(2):394-412. doi: 10.1093/pcp/pcp001. Epub 2009 Jan 22.

Four TFL1/CEN-like genes on distinct linkage groups show different expression patterns to regulate vegetative and reproductive development in apple (Malus x domestica Borkh.).

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  • 1Apple Breeding and Physiology Research Team, National Institute of Fruit Tree Science, Shimo-kuriyagawa, Morioka, Japan.


Recent molecular analyses in several plant species revealed that TERMINAL FLOWER1 (TFL1) and CENTRORADIALIS (CEN) homologs are involved in regulating the flowering time and/or maintaining the inflorescence meristem. In apple (Malusxdomestica Borkh.), four TFL1/CEN-like genes, MdTFL1, MdTFL1a, MdCENa and MdCENb, were found and mapped by a similar position on putatively homoeologous linkage groups. Apple TFL1/CEN-like genes functioned equivalently to TFL1 when expressed constitutively in transgenic Arabidopsis plants, suggesting that they have a potential to complement the TFL1 function. Because MdTFL1 and MdTFL1a were expressed in the vegetative tissues in both the adult and juvenile phases, they could function redundantly as a flowering repressor and a regulator of vegetative meristem identity. On the other hand, MdCENa was mainly expressed in fruit receptacles, cultured tissues and roots, suggesting that it is involved in the development of proliferating tissues but not in the control of the transition from the juvenile to the adult phase. In contrast, MdCENb was silenced in most organs probably due to gene duplication by the polyploid origin of apple. The expression patterns of MdTFL1 and MdCENa in apple were also supported by the heterologous expression of beta-glucuronidase fused with their promoter regions in transgenic Arabidopsis. Our results suggest that functional divergence of the roles in the regulation of vegetative meristem identity may have occurred among four TFL1/CEN-like genes during evolution in apple.

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