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Genes Genet Syst. 2012;87(3):161-8.

Effect of Ppd-1 on the expression of flowering-time genes in vegetative and reproductive growth stages of wheat.

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Department of Bioscience, Fukui Prefectural University, 4-1-1 Matsuoka-kenjojima, Eiheiji-cho, Yoshida-gun, Fukui 910-1195, Japan.


The photoperiod sensitivity gene Ppd-1 influences the timing of flowering in temperate cereals such as wheat and barley. The effect of Ppd-1 on the expression of flowering-time genes was assessed by examining the expression levels of the vernalization genes VRN1 and VRN3/WFT and of two CONSTANS-like genes, WCO1 and TaHd1, during vegetative and reproductive growth stages. Two near-isogenic lines (NILs) were used: the first carried a photoperiod-insensitive allele of Ppd-1 (Ppd-1a-NIL), the other, a photoperiod-sensitive allele (Ppd-1b-NIL). We found that the expression pattern of VRN1 was similar in Ppd-1a-NIL and Ppd-1b-NIL plants, suggesting that VRN1 is not regulated by Ppd-1. Under long day conditions, VRN3/WFT showed similar expression patterns in Ppd-1a-NIL and Ppd-1b-NIL plants. However, expression differed greatly under short day conditions: VRN3/WFT expression was detected in Ppd-1a-NIL plants at the 5-leaf stage when they transited from vegetative to reproductive growth; very low expression was present in Ppd-1b-NIL throughout all growth stages. Thus, the Ppd-1b allele acts to down-regulate VRN3/WFT under short day conditions. WCO1 showed high levels of expression at the vegetative stage, which decreased during the phase transition and reproductive growth stages in both Ppd-1a-NIL and Ppd-1b-NIL plants under short day conditions. By contrast to WCO1, TaHd1 was up-regulated during the reproductive stage. The level of TaHd1 expression was much higher in Ppd-1a-NIL than the Ppd-1b-NIL plants, suggesting that the Ppd-1b allele down-regulates TaHd1 under short day conditions. The present study indicates that down-regulation of VRN3/WFT together with TaHd1 is the cause of late flowering in the Ppd-1b-NIL plants under short day conditions.

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