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Functional and expression analyses of kiwifruit SOC1-like genes suggest that they may not have a role in the transition to flowering but may affect the duration of dormancy

Charlotte Voogd, Tianchi Wang, Erika Varkonyi-Gasic
Journal of Experimental Botany 2015, 66 (15): 4699-710
25979999
The MADS-domain transcription factor SUPPRESSOR OF OVEREXPRESSION OF CONSTANS1 (SOC1) is one of the key integrators of endogenous and environmental signals that promote flowering in the annual species Arabidopsis thaliana. In the deciduous woody perennial vine kiwifruit (Actinidia spp.), environmental signals are integrated to regulate annual cycles of growth and dormancy. Accumulation of chilling during winter is required for dormancy break and flowering in spring. In order to understand the regulation of dormancy and flowering in kiwifruit, nine kiwifruit SOC1-like genes were identified and characterized. All genes affected flowering time of A. thaliana Col-0 and were able to rescue the late flowering phenotype of the soc1-2 mutant when ectopically expressed. A differential capacity for homodimerization was observed, but all proteins were capable of strong interactions with SHORT VEGETATIVE PHASE (SVP) MADS-domain proteins. Largely overlapping spatial domains but distinct expression profiles in buds were identified between the SOC1-like gene family members. Ectopic expression of AcSOC1e, AcSOC1i, and AcSOC1f in Actinidia chinensis had no impact on establishment of winter dormancy and failed to induce precocious flowering, but AcSOC1i reduced the duration of dormancy in the absence of winter chilling. These findings add to our understanding of the SOC1-like gene family and the potential diversification of SOC1 function in woody perennials.

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