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euAP2a, a Key Gene that Regulates Flowering Time with a Novel Mechanism in Peach (Prunus persica)

posted on 2024-06-11, 07:17 authored by USDA-ARS
Spring frost is a growing risk to temperate fruit production as warmer winter conditions can lead to earlier bloom, increasing the chance of damaging cold temperatures. One strategy to minimize the impacts of frost is to breed late-flowering cultivars to avoid the frost risk period. In this study, we analyzed Late-Flowering Peach (LFP) germplasm and showed its floral buds require longer chilling and warming periods during dormancy than the control cultivar, ‘John Boy’ (JB). We identified a 983-bp deletion in an AP2 gene, dubbed euAP2a, present only in LFP but not in 14 other peach genomes analyzed. This mutation eliminates an miR172 binding site, possibly allowing the euAP2a transcript to accumulate preferentially during chilling. These findings together with an early report that a deletion in the same euAP2a causes increasing floral petals, a morphological mark that also occurs in LFP, implies that the 983-bp deletion may contribute to the late-flowering phenotype. Furthermore, RNAseq data revealed that that two chilling- and three warm-responsive co-expression modules, which were collectively composed of 2,931 genes, were differentially activated at four of 13 dormancy stages. This activation was concurrent with a transient, stage-specific down-regulation of euAP2a. However, the mutated euAP2a in LFP did not exhibit the periodic downregulation events observed in JB and the concurrent activation of the five modules, leading to potential loss of activation of two chilling-responsive modules and an 8–12-day delay of three warm-responsive modules, which corresponds to the longer chilling requirement and delayed flowering time in the LFP buds. These findings support euAP2a as a potential regulator to control both floral development and bloom time in peach. Our findings provide important insight into the mechanisms underlying flowering time in peach, as well as a novel regulatory pathway that may operate in other plants. The results provide new insights to facilitate the breeding of new cultivars with late-flowering frost-avoidance traits. Overall design: Comparison of RNA profiles between 2 peach genotypes with different flowering time


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National Center for Biotechnology Information

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  • Non-geospatial

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  • biota

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transcriptome; gene expression

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  • Public

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It is recommended to cite the accession numbers that are assigned to data submissions, e.g. the GenBank, WGS or SRA accession numbers. If individual BioProjects need to be referenced, state that "The data have been deposited with links to BioProject accession number PRJNA1023587 in the NCBI BioProject database ("

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