HD-ZIP Transcription Factors and Brassinosteroid Signaling Play a Role in Capitulum Patterning in Chrysanthemum

Annemarie Castricum, Erin H. Bakker, Nick C.M.H. de Vetten, Mieke Weemen, Gerco C. Angenent, Richard G.H. Immink*, Marian Bemer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Chrysanthemum is a genus in the Asteraceae family containing numerous cut flower varieties with high ornamental value. It owes its beauty to the composite flower head, which resembles a compact inflorescence. This structure is also known as a capitulum, in which many ray and disc florets are densely packed. The ray florets are localized at the rim, are male sterile, and have large colorful petals. The centrally localized disc florets develop only a small petal tube but produce fertile stamens and a functional pistil. Nowadays, varieties with more ray florets are bred because of their high ornamental value, but, unfortunately, this is at the expense of their seed setting. In this study, we confirmed that the disc:ray floret ratio is highly correlated to seed set efficiency, and therefore, we further investigated the mechanisms that underlie the regulation of the disc:ray floret ratio. To this end, a comprehensive transcriptomics analysis was performed in two acquired mutants with a higher disc:ray floret ratio. Among the differentially regulated genes, various potential brassinosteroid (BR) signaling genes and HD-ZIP class IV homeodomain transcription factors stood out. Detailed follow-up functional studies confirmed that reduced BR levels and downregulation of HD-ZIP IV gene Chrysanthemum morifolium PROTODERMAL FACTOR 2 (CmPDF2) result in an increased disc:ray floret ratio, thereby providing ways to improve seed set in decorative chrysanthemum varieties in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7655
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2023


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