Developmental phase change and flowering transition are emerging as potential targets for biomass agriculture in recent years. The GIGANTEA (GI) gene is one of the central regulators that direct flowering promotion and phase transition. In this work, we isolated a GI gene orthologue from the small annual grass Brachypodium distachyon inbred line Bd21 (Brachypodium), which is perceived as a potential model monocot for studies on bioenergy grass species. A partial GI gene sequence was identified from a Brachypodium expressed sequence tag library, and a full-size gene (BdGI) was amplified from a Brachypodium cDNA library using specific primer sets designed through analysis of monocot GI gene sequences. The BdGI gene was up-regulated by light and cold. A circadian rhythm set by light–dark transition also regulated the expression of the BdGI gene. The deduced amino acid sequence of the BdGI protein shares higher than 70% of sequence identity with the GI proteins in monocots and Arabidopsis. In addition, the BdGI protein is constitutively targeted to the nucleus and physically interacts with the ZEITLUPE (ZTL) and CONSTITUTIVE PHOTOMORPHOGENIC 1 (COP1) proteins, like the Arabidopsis GI protein. Interestingly, heterologous expression of the BdGI gene in a GI-deficient Arabidopsis mutant rescued efficiently the late flowering phenotype. Together, our data indicate that the role of the GI gene in flowering induction is conserved in Arabidopsis and Brachypodium. It is envisioned that the GI genes of bioenergy grasses as well as Brachypodium could be manipulated to improve biomass by engineering developmental timing of phase transitions.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 10, 2009
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