The influence of vernalization and daylength on expression of flowering-time genes in the shoot apex and leaves of barley (Hordeum vulgare).

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Journal Article
Journal of Experimental Botany, 2009, 60 (7), pp. 2169 - 2178
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Responses to prolonged low-temperature treatment of imbibed seeds (vernalization) were examined in barley (Hordeum vulgare). These occurred in two phases: the perception of prolonged cold, which occurred gradually at low temperatures, and the acceleration of reproductive development, which occurred after vernalization. Expression of the VERNALIZATION1 gene (HvVRN1) increased gradually in germinating seedlings during vernalization, both at the shoot apex and in the developing leaves. This occurred in darkness, independently of VERNALIZATION2 (HvVRN2), consistent with the hypothesis that expression of HvVRN1 is induced by prolonged cold independently of daylength flowering-response pathways. After vernalization, expression of HvVRN1 was maintained in the shoot apex and leaves. This was associated with accelerated inflorescence initiation and with down-regulation of HvVRN2 in the leaves. The largest determinant of HvVRN1 expression levels in vernalized plants was the length of seed vernalization treatment. Daylength did not influence HvVRN1 expression levels in shoot apices and typically did not affect expression in leaves. In the leaves of plants that had experienced a saturating seed vernalization treatment, expression of HvVRN1 was higher in long days, however. HvFT1 was expressed in the leaves of these plants in long days, which might account for the elevated HvVRN1 expression. Long-day up-regulation of HvVRN1 was not required for inflorescence initiation, but might accelerate subsequent stages of inflorescence development. Similar responses to seed vernalization were also observed in wheat (Triticum aestivum). These data support the hypothesis that VRN1 is induced by cold during winter to promote spring flowering in vernalization-responsive cereals.
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