Passiflora organensis FT/TFL1 gene family and their putative roles in phase transition and floral initiation

T. de Souza Moraes*, G.H. Immink, Adriana Pinheiro Martinelli, G.C. Angenent, G.W. van Esse, Marcelo Dornelas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Comprehensive analysis of the FT/TFL1 gene family in Passiflora organensis results in understanding how these genes might be involved in the regulation of the typical plant architecture presented by Passiflora species.Passion fruit (Passiflora spp) is an economic tropical fruit crop, but there is hardly any knowledge available about the molecular control of phase transition and flower initiation in this species. The florigen agent FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) interacts with the bZIP protein FLOWERING LOCUS D (FD) to induce flowering in the model species Arabidopsis thaliana. Current models based on research in rice suggest that this interaction is bridged by 14–3-3 proteins. We identified eight FT/TFL1 family members in Passiflora organensis and characterized them by analyzing their phylogeny, gene structure, expression patterns, protein interactions and putative biological roles by heterologous expression in Arabidopsis. PoFT was highest expressed during the adult vegetative phase and it is supposed to have an important role in flowering induction. In contrast, its paralogs PoTSFs were highest expressed in the reproductive phase. While ectopic expression of PoFT in transgenic Arabidopsis plants induced early flowering and inflorescence determinacy, the ectopic expression of PoTSFa caused a delay in flowering. PoTFL1-like genes were highest expressed during the juvenile phase and their ectopic expression caused delayed flowering in Arabidopsis. Our protein–protein interaction studies indicate that the flowering activation complexes in Passiflora might deviate from the hexameric complex found in the model system rice. Our results provide insights into the potential functions of FT/TFL1 gene family members during floral initiation and their implications in the special plant architecture of Passiflora species, contributing to more detailed studies on the regulation of passion fruit reproduction.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPlant Reproduction
Volume34
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2021

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