Low-temperature and daylength cues are integrated to regulate FLOWERING LOCUS T in barley

American Society of Plant Biologists
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Journal Article
Plant Physiology, 2008, 147 (1), pp. 355 - 366
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Interactions between flowering time genes were examined in a doubled haploid barley (Hordeum vulgare) population segregating for H. vulgare VERNALIZATION1 (HvVRN1), HvVRN2, and PHOTOPERIOD1 (PPD-H1). A deletion allele of HvVRN2 was associated with rapid inflorescence initiation and early flowering, but only in lines with an active allele of PPD-H1. In these lines, the floral promoter FLOWERING LOCUS T (HvFT1) was expressed at high levels without vernalization, and this preceded induction of HvVRN1. Lines with the deletion allele of HvVRN2 and the inactive ppd-H1 allele did not undergo rapid inflorescence initiation and were late flowering. These data suggest that HvVRN2 counteracts PPD-H1 to prevent flowering prior to vernalization. An allele of HvVRN1 that is expressed at high basal levels (HvVRN1-1) was associated with rapid inflorescence initiation regardless of HvVRN2 or PPD-H1 genotype. HvFT1 was expressed without vernalization in lines with the HvVRN1-1 allele and HvFT1 transcript levels were highest in lines with the active PPD-H1 allele; this correlated with rapid apex development postinflorescence initiation. Thus, expression of HvVRN1 promotes inflorescence initiation and up-regulates HvFT1. Analysis of HvVRN1 expression in different genetic backgrounds postvernalization showed that HvVRN2, HvFT1, and PPD-H1 are unlikely to play a role in low-temperature induction of HvVRN1. In a vernalization responsive barley, HvFT1 is not induced by low temperatures alone, but can be induced by long days following prolonged low-temperature treatment. We conclude that low-temperature and daylength flowering-response pathways are integrated to control expression of HvFT1 in barley, and that this might occur through regulation of HvVRN2 activity.
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