Two orthologues of FLORICAULA/LEAFY, AFL1 and AFL2 (apple FLO/LFY), were isolated from the floral buds of apple trees. Their expression was detected in various tissues and during differentiation of the floral buds. Furthermore, the flowering effectiveness of each gene was assessed with transgenic Arabidopsis. Both AFL1 and AFL2 showed high homology to each other (90%) and a high degree of similarity to PTLF and PEAFLO (70%), which are homologues of FLO/LFY from poplar and pea, respectively. RNA blot analysis showed that AFL1 was expressed only in the floral bud during the transition from vegetative to reproductive growth, whereas AFL2 was expressed in vegetative shoot apex, floral buds, floral organs and root. Genomic Southern analysis showed that apple had other homologues in addition to AFL1 and AFL2. The transgenic Arabidopsis with over-expressed AFL2 showed accelerated flowering and gave rise to several solitary flowers from rosette axils directly. AFL1 had similar effects, but the phenotypes of the transgenic Arabidopsis with AFL1 were weaker than those with AFL2. These results suggest that both genes are involved in flower differentiation in apple.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 13, 2004
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