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Genes Genet Syst. 2012;87(6):357-67.

A wheat homologue of PHYTOCLOCK 1 is a candidate gene conferring the early heading phenotype to einkorn wheat.

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Laboratory of Plant Genetics, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.


An X-ray mutant showing an early flowering phenotype has been identified in einkorn wheat (Triticum monococcum L.), for which a major QTL for heading time was previously mapped in the telomeric region on the long arm of chromosome 3A. Recent advances in Triticeae genomics revealed that the gene order in this region is highly conserved between wheat and barley. Thus, we adopted a hypothetical gene order in barley, the so-called GenomeZipper, to develop DNA markers for fine mapping the target gene in wheat. We identified three genes tightly linked to the early heading phenotype. PCR analysis revealed that early-flowering is associated with the deletion of two genes in the mutant. Of the two deleted genes, one is an ortholog of the LUX ARRHYTHMO (LUX)/PHYTOCLOCK 1 (PCL1) gene found in Arabidopsis, which regulates the circadian clock and flowering time. We found distorted expression patterns of two clock genes (TOC1 and LHY) in the einkorn pcl1 deletion mutant as was reported for the Arabidopsis lux mutant. Transcript accumulation levels of photoperiod-response related genes, a photoperiod sensitivity gene (Ppd-1) and two wheat CONSTANS-like genes (WCO1 and TaHd1), were significantly higher in the einkorn wheat mutant. In addition, transcripts of the wheat florigen gene (WFT) accumulated temporally under short-day conditions in the einkorn wheat mutant. These results suggest that deletion of WPCL1 leads to abnormally higher expression of Ppd-1, resulting in the accumulation of WFT transcripts that triggers flowering even under short-day conditions. Our observations from gene mapping, gene deletions, and expression levels of flowering related genes strongly suggest that WPCL1 is the most likely candidate gene for controlling the early flowering phenotype in the einkorn wheat mutant.

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