Journal Article

Meristem identity gene expression during curd proliferation and flower initiation in <i>Brassica oleracea</i>

Denise V. Duclos and Thomas Björkman

in Journal of Experimental Botany

Published on behalf of Society for Experimental Biology

Volume 59, issue 2, pages 421-433
Published in print February 2008 | ISSN: 0022-0957
Published online February 2008 | e-ISSN: 1460-2431 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jxb/erm327

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The regulation of reproductive development in cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis DC) and broccoli (B. oleracea L. var. italica Plenck) is unusual in that most enlargement occurs while development is arrested at a distinct stage. Cauliflower and broccoli curds are composed of inflorescence meristems and flower buds, respectively. To determine whether this arrest is maintained by altered expression of the genes that specify these steps in Arabidopsis, the expression of each copy of their homologues (MADS-box genes BoAP1-a, BoAP1-c, BoCAL, BoFUL-a, BoFUL-b, BoFUL-c, and BoFUL-d; and non-MADS-box genes BoLFY, AP2, UFO, and BoTFL1) and the cauliflower curd-specific genes CCE1 and BoREM1 were measured simultaneously in heads that were arrested at different developmental stages by varying temperature, but had a common genotype. Transcript abundance of BoFUL paralogues and BoLFY was highest at the cauliflower stage of arrest, consistent with these genes initiating inflorescence meristems. The expression of other genes was the same regardless of the developmental stage of arrest. The expected models can therefore be excluded, wherein maintenance of arrest at the inflorescence meristem is a consequence of suppression of BoCAL, BoAP1-a, or BoLFY, or failure to suppress BoTFL1. Floral primordia and floral buds were normal in boap1-a boap1-c bocal triple mutants; therefore, other meristem identity genes can specify floral initiation (A-function) in B. oleracea. BoTFL1, a strong repressor of flowering in Arabidopsis, did not suppress the formation of the floral primordium in B. oleracea. Initiation of floral primordia and enlargement of floral buds in broccoli and cauliflower is not controlled solely by homologues of the genes that do so in Arabidopsis.

Keywords: Brassica oleracea; broccoli; cauliflower; developmental arrest; flowering; meristem identity genes; temperature

Journal Article.  7212 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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