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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Conservation and divergence of four kiwifruit SVP-like MADS-box genes suggest distinct roles in kiwifruit bud dormancy and flowering

Rong-Mei Wu, Eric F Walton, Annette C Richardson, Marion Wood, Roger P Hellens, Erika Varkonyi-Gasic
Journal of Experimental Botany 2012, 63 (2): 797-807
22071267
MADS-box genes similar to Arabidopsis SHORT VEGETATIVE PHASE (SVP) have been implicated in the regulation of flowering in annual species and bud dormancy in perennial species. Kiwifruit (Actinidia spp.) are woody perennial vines where bud dormancy and out-growth affect flower development. To determine the role of SVP-like genes in dormancy and flowering of kiwifruit, four MADS-box genes with homology to Arabidopsis SVP, designated SVP1, SVP2, SVP3, and SVP4, have been identified and analysed in kiwifruit and functionally characterized in Arabidopsis. Phylogenetic analysis indicate that these genes fall into different sub-clades within the SVP-like gene group, suggesting distinct functions. Expression was generally confined to vegetative tissues, and increased transcript accumulation in shoot buds over the winter period suggests a role for these genes in bud dormancy. Down-regulation before flower differentiation indicate possible roles as floral repressors. Over-expression and complementation studies in Arabidopsis resulted in a range of floral reversion phenotypes arising from interactions with Arabidopsis MADS-box proteins, but only SVP1 and SVP3 were able to complement the svp mutant. These results suggest that the kiwifruit SVP-like genes may have distinct roles during bud dormancy and flowering.

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