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BMC Plant Biology

Haim D. Rabinowitch - Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Quality Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, Israel.

Background

Geophytes possess specialized storage organs - bulbs, tubers, corms or rhizomes, which allow their survival during unfovarable periods and provide energy support for sprouting and sexual and vegetative reproduction. Bulbing and flowering of the geophyte depend on the combined effects of the internal and external factors, especially temperature and photoperiod. Many geophytes are extensively used in agriculture, but mechanisms of regulation of their flowering and bulbing are still unclear.

Results

Comparative morpho-physiological and transcriptome analyses and quantitative validation of gene expression shed light on the molecular regulation of the responses to vernalization in garlic, a typical bulbous plant. Long dark cold exposure of bulbs is a major cue for flowering and bulbing, and its interactions with the genetic makeup of the individual plant dictate the phenotypic expression during growth stage. Photoperiod signal is not involved in the initial nuclear and metabolic processes, but might play role in the later stages of development, flower stem elongation and bulbing. Vernalization for 12 weeks at 4 °C and planting in November resulted in flower initiation under short photoperiod in December–January, and early blooming and bulbing. In contrast, non-vernalized plants did not undergo meristem transition. Comparisons between vernalized and non-vernalized bulbs revealed ~ 14,000 differentially expressed genes.

Conclusions

Low temperatures stimulate a large cascades of molecular mechanisms in garlic, and a variety of flowering pathways operate together for the benefit of meristem transition, annual life cycle and viable reproduction results.The circadian clock appears to play a central role in the transition of the meristem from vegetative to reproductive stage in bulbous plant, serving as integrator of the low-temperature signals and the expression of the genes associated with vernalization, photoperiod and meristem transition. The reserved photoperiodic pathway is integrated at an upstream point, possibly by the same receptors. Therefore, in bulb, low temperatures stimulate cascades of developmental mechanisms, and several genetic flowering pathways intermix to achieve successful sexual and vegetative reproduction.

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Crosstalk in the darkness: bulb vernalization activates meristem transition via circadian rhythm and photoperiodic pathway

Haim D. Rabinowitch - Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Quality Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, Israel.

Crosstalk in the darkness: bulb vernalization activates meristem transition via circadian rhythm and photoperiodic pathway

Background

Geophytes possess specialized storage organs - bulbs, tubers, corms or rhizomes, which allow their survival during unfovarable periods and provide energy support for sprouting and sexual and vegetative reproduction. Bulbing and flowering of the geophyte depend on the combined effects of the internal and external factors, especially temperature and photoperiod. Many geophytes are extensively used in agriculture, but mechanisms of regulation of their flowering and bulbing are still unclear.

Results

Comparative morpho-physiological and transcriptome analyses and quantitative validation of gene expression shed light on the molecular regulation of the responses to vernalization in garlic, a typical bulbous plant. Long dark cold exposure of bulbs is a major cue for flowering and bulbing, and its interactions with the genetic makeup of the individual plant dictate the phenotypic expression during growth stage. Photoperiod signal is not involved in the initial nuclear and metabolic processes, but might play role in the later stages of development, flower stem elongation and bulbing. Vernalization for 12 weeks at 4 °C and planting in November resulted in flower initiation under short photoperiod in December–January, and early blooming and bulbing. In contrast, non-vernalized plants did not undergo meristem transition. Comparisons between vernalized and non-vernalized bulbs revealed ~ 14,000 differentially expressed genes.

Conclusions

Low temperatures stimulate a large cascades of molecular mechanisms in garlic, and a variety of flowering pathways operate together for the benefit of meristem transition, annual life cycle and viable reproduction results.The circadian clock appears to play a central role in the transition of the meristem from vegetative to reproductive stage in bulbous plant, serving as integrator of the low-temperature signals and the expression of the genes associated with vernalization, photoperiod and meristem transition. The reserved photoperiodic pathway is integrated at an upstream point, possibly by the same receptors. Therefore, in bulb, low temperatures stimulate cascades of developmental mechanisms, and several genetic flowering pathways intermix to achieve successful sexual and vegetative reproduction.

Scientific Publication