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Niu Q.,Zhejiang University | Niu Q.,Key Laboratory of Horticultural Plant Growth | Niu Q.,Zhejiang Provincial Key Laboratory of Integrative Biology and Utilization of Horticultural Plants | Li J.,Zhejiang University | And 20 more authors.
Journal of Experimental Botany | Year: 2016

Bud dormancy in perennial plants is indispensable to survival over winter and to regrowth and development in the following year. However, the molecular pathways of endo-dormancy induction, maintenance, and release are still unclear, especially in fruit crops. To identify genes with roles in regulating endo-dormancy, 30 MIKCC-type MADS-box genes were identified in the pear genome and characterized. The 30 genes were analysed to determine their phylogenetic relationships with homologous genes, genome locations, gene structure, tissue-specific transcript profiles, and transcriptional patterns during flower bud dormancy in 'Suli' pear (Pyrus pyrifolia white pear group). The roles in regulating bud dormancy varied among the MIKC gene family members. Yeast one-hybrid and transient assays showed that PpCBF enhanced PpDAM1 and PpDAM3 transcriptional activity during the induction of dormancy, probably by binding to the C-repeat/DRE binding site, while DAM proteins inhibited the transcriptional activity of PpFT2 during dormancy release. In the small RNA-seq analysis, 185 conserved, 24 less-conserved, and 32 pear-specific miRNAs with distinct expression patterns during bud dormancy were identified. Joint analyses of miRNAs and MIKC genes together with degradome data showed that miR6390 targeted PpDAM transcripts and degraded them to release PpFT2. Our data show that cross-talk among PpCBF, PpDAM, PpFT2, and miR6390 played important roles in regulating endo-dormancy. A model for the molecular mechanism of dormancy transition is proposed: short-term chilling in autumn activates the accumulation of CBF, which directly promotes DAM expression; DAM subsequently inhibits FT expression to induce endo-dormancy, and miR6390 degrades DAM genes to release endo-dormancy. © 2015 The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology.

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