Regulation of inflorescence determinacy in Gerbera hybrida

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Title: Regulation of inflorescence determinacy in Gerbera hybrida
Author: Cai, Xiaobo
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Maatalous-metsätieteellinen tiedekunta, Maataloustieteiden osasto
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, Department of Agricultural Sciences
Helsingfors universitet, Agrikultur- och forstvetenskapliga fakulteten, Avdelningen för lantbruksvetenskaper
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2020
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Kasvintuotantotieteet
Plant Production Science
Abstract: Inflorescence meristems (IMs) either keep producing new flowers, thereby being indeterminate, or terminate after initiation of a finite number of flowers, thereby being determinate. Gerbera hybrida (Asteraceae) has determinate inflorescences. It has been found that the LEAFY (LFY) homolog GhLFY and SEPALLATA (SEP)-like GRCD2/7 promote IM termination in Gerbera as LFY and SEP genes do in Arabidopsis. Downregulation of their expression in Gerbera leads to indeterminate inflorescences. Considering the roles of WUSCHEL (WUS), CLAVATA3 (CLV3) and SHOOT MERISTEMLESS (STM) in meristem maintenance and of TERMINAL FLOWER 1 (TFL1) in IM determinacy in Arabidopsis, it is possible that GhLFY and GRCD2/7 contribute to IM termination by regulating the expression of the homologs of these genes, namely GhWUSb, GhWOX2a, GhCLV3, GhSTM and GhTFL1. It is also possible that GhLFY upregulates the expression of GRCD2/7 in Gerbera, since LFY upregulates SEP gene expression in Arabidopsis. To test these hypotheses, the expression of these candidate genes in Gerbera IMs was compared between IM-expanding and terminating stages, as well as between transgenic plants with downregulated GhLFY or GRCD2/7 expression and wild-type plants. In addition, the pOpOn2 inducible expression vector was used in Gerbera for the first time, in order to induce GhWUSb overexpression in transgenic plants and to study the function of GhWUSb in IM determinacy. Expression analysis showed that during IM termination, GRCD7 expression was upregulated, while the expression of GhWUSb, GhCLV3 and GhWOX2a was downregulated. GhLFY upregulated the expression of GRCD7, and both of them downregulated the expression of GhWUSb, GhCLV3 and GhWOX2a. The expression of GhSTM and GRCD2 was neither affected by IM termination nor regulated by GhLFY or GRCD7. GhTFL1 expression was not detected in any IM samples. Induced GhWUSb overexpression delayed IM termination, confirming the role of GhWUSb in meristem maintenance. These results suggest that GRCD7 may contribute to IM termination by suppressing the expression of the meristem maintenance gene GhWUSb, and the upregulation of GRCD7 by GhLFY may be required for IM termination. GRCD2 and GhSTM may not play a significant role in inflorescence determinacy.
Subject: Gerbera

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