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New Phytol. 2018 Jun;218(4):1491-1503. doi: 10.1111/nph.15087. Epub 2018 Mar 13.

GIGANTEA-like genes control seasonal growth cessation in Populus.

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Umeå Plant Science Centre, Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 901 83, Umeå, Sweden.
Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 230 53, Alnarp, Sweden.
Biomass and Bioenergy Research Centre, College of Plant Science and Technology, Huazhong Agricultural University, 430070, Wuhan, China.
Key Laboratory of Horticultural Plant Biology of Ministry of Education, College of Horticulture and Forestry, Huazhong Agricultural University, 430070, Wuhan, China.
Umeå Plant Science Centre, Department of Plant Physiology, Umeå University, 901 87, Umeå, Sweden.


Survival of trees growing in temperate zones requires cycling between active growth and dormancy. This involves growth cessation in the autumn triggered by a photoperiod shorter than the critical day length. Variations in GIGANTEA (GI)-like genes have been associated with phenology in a range of different tree species, but characterization of the functions of these genes in the process is still lacking. We describe the identification of the Populus orthologs of GI and their critical role in short-day-induced growth cessation. Using ectopic expression and silencing, gene expression analysis, protein interaction and chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments, we show that PttGIs are likely to act in a complex with PttFKF1s (FLAVIN-BINDING, KELCH REPEAT, F-BOX 1) and PttCDFs (CYCLING DOF FACTOR) to control the expression of PttFT2, the key gene regulating short-day-induced growth cessation in Populus. In contrast to Arabidopsis, in which the GI-CONSTANS (CO)-FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) regulon is a crucial day-length sensor for flowering time, our study suggests that, in Populus, PttCO-independent regulation of PttFT2 by PttGI is more important in the photoperiodic control of growth cessation and bud set.


Populus ; FLOWERING LOCUS (FT); GIGANTEA (GI); growth cessation; photoperiod

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