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ABSTRACT: CONSTANS (CO) is involved in the photoperiodic control of plant developmental processes, including flowering in several species and seasonal growth cessation and bud set in trees. It has been proposed that CO could also affect the day-length regulation of tuber induction in Solanum tuberosum (potato), a plant of great agricultural relevance. To address this question, we examined the role of CO in potato. A potato CO-like gene, StCO, was identified and found to be highly similar to a previously reported potato gene of unknown function. Potato plants overexpressing StCO tuberized later than wild-type plants under a weakly inductive photoperiod. StCO silencing promoted tuberization under both repressive and weakly inductive photoperiods, but did not have any effect under strongly inductive short days, demonstrating that StCO represses tuberization in a photoperiod-dependent manner. The effect of StCO on tuber induction was transmitted through grafts. In addition, StCO affected the mRNA levels of StBEL5 - a tuberization promoter, the mRNA of which moves long distances in potato plants - and StFT/StSP6A, a protein highly similar to FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT), which is a key component of systemic flowering signals in other species. We also found that StFT/StSP6A transcript levels correlate with the induction of tuber formation in wild-type plants. These results show that StCO plays an important role in photoperiodic tuberization and, together with the recent demonstration that StFT/StSP6A promotes tuberization, indicate that the CO/FT module participates in controlling this process. Moreover, they support the notion that StCO is involved in the expression of long-distance regulatory signals in potato, as CO does in other species.
The Plant Journal 01/2012; 70(4):678-90. · 6.58 Impact Factor
The Plant Journal 01/2012; · 6.58 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The photoreceptor phytochrome B (PHYB) and the homeodomain protein BEL5 are involved in the response of potato tuber induction to the photoperiod. However, whether they act in the same tuberization pathway is unknown. Here we show the effect of a microRNA, miR172, on this developmental event. miR172 levels are higher under tuber-inducing short days than under non-inductive long days and are upregulated in stolons at the onset of tuberization. Overexpression of this microRNA in potato promotes flowering, accelerates tuberization under moderately inductive photoperiods and triggers tuber formation under long days. In plants with a reduced abundance of PHYB, which tuberize under long days, both BEL5 mRNA and miR172 levels are reduced in leaves and increased in stolons. This, together with the presence of miR172 in vascular bundles and the graft transmissibility of its effect on tuberization, indicates that either miR172 might be mobile or it regulates long-distance signals to induce tuberization. Consistent with this, plants overexpressing miR172 show increased levels of BEL5 mRNA, which has been reported to be transmissible through grafts. Furthermore, we identify an APETALA2-like mRNA containing a miR172 binding site, which is downregulated in plants overexpressing miR172 and plants in which PHYB is silenced. Altogether, our results suggest that miR172 probably acts downstream of the tuberization repressor PHYB and upstream of the tuberization promoter BEL5 and allow us to propose a model for the control of tuberization by PHYB, miR172 and BEL5.
Development 10/2009; 136(17):2873-81. · 6.60 Impact Factor