We previously identified a cluster of d ormancy-a ssociated M ADS-box transcription factors (DAM genes) in peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] as potential candidates for control of the non-dormant phenotype observed in the evg mutant. Of these genes, DAM3, DAM5 and DAM6 were winter expressed, suggesting a role for these genes during endodormancy. We used peach cultivars with contrasting chilling requirements (CR) for bud break to observe the expression of DAM3, DAM5 and DAM6 in response to chilling accumulation in the field and controlled environments. Vegetative terminal and floral buds were sampled weekly from field grown ‘Contender’ (1050 h CR), ‘Rubyprince’ (850 h CR) and ‘Springprince’ (650 h CR) peach cultivars through winter 2008-2009. Flower and vegetative terminal bud break potential was evaluated at each sampling by forcing cuttings in a growth-permissive environment. We also measured vegetative terminal bud break and DAM gene expression in potted ‘Contender’ and ‘Peen-To’ (450 h CR) trees under controlled-environment cold exposure. DAM3, DAM5 and DAM6 are all suppressed by exposure to chilling temperatures in the field and in controlled conditions. Expression of DAM5 and DAM6 are higher in high chill cultivars prior to chilling accumulation and their expression level reaches a minimum in each cultivar coincident with acquisition of bud break competence. Expression levels of DAM5 and DAM6 in vegetative tips in controlled environment conditions were negatively correlated with the time required for bud break in forcing conditions. The expression patterns of DAM5 and DAM6 are consistent with a role as quantitative repressors of bud break.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 9, 2010
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