SPP 1530: Flowering Time Control - from Natural Variation to Crop Improvement

PP-1: Albani

Characterization of genes that contribute to the perennial flowering of Arabis alpina

Arabis alpina

Most of our major crops are annuals and die after flowering whereas many of their wild relatives are perennials and are able to maintain growth from one year to the next. Perennial crops are considered to give an advantage in sustainable agriculture but the process of breeding perennial cultivars is still in its early stages. Traits associated with perennial plants have been excluded at an early stage of domestication as a result of the recurrent selection process which favored the annual life strategy. Therefore, understanding the regulation of perennial specific traits which do not exist (or have been modified) in annuals can sustain future efforts breeding perennial crops. This project aims to understand the molecular mechanisms that regulate perennial traits using comparative studies between two model Brassicaceae species, the perennial Arabis alpina and the annual Arabidopsis thaliana. We specifically focus on characterizing perennial traits related to flowering in A. alpina and identifying their impact in life strategy evolution using comparisons with A. thaliana. In the first phase of the SPP1530 we performed a mutagenesis screen of the perpetual flowering 1 (pep1) mutant in A. alpina and we identified and characterized several flowering mutants. In the second phase we will further characterize these mutants, isolate causal mutations using next generation sequencing and study the role of identified genes in flowering traits and their contribution to the perennial life strategy.


Project-related publications:

Willing EM, Rawat V, Mandakova T, Maumus F, James GV, Nordstrom KJ, Becker C, Warthmann N, Chica C, Szarzynska B, Zytnicki M, Albani MC, Kiefer C, Bergonzi S, Castaings L, Mateos JL, Berns MC, Bujdoso N, Piofczyk T, de Lorenzo L, Barrero-Sicilia C, Mateos I, Piednoel M, Hagmann J, Chen-Min-Tao R, Iglesias-Fernandez R, Schuster SC, Alonso-Blanco C, Roudier F, Carbonero P, Paz-Ares J, Davis SJ, Pecinka A, Quesneville H, Colot V, Lysak MA, Weigel D, Coupland G, Schneeberger K (2015) Genome expansion of Arabis alpina linked with retrotransposition and reduced symmetric DNA methylation. Nature Plants 1: 14023 http://www.nature.com/articles/nplants201423

Castaings L, Bergonzi S, Albani MC, Kemi U, Savolainen O, Coupland G (2014) Evolutionary conservation of cold-induced antisense RNAs of FLOWERING LOCUS C in Arabidopsis thaliana perennial relatives. Nature Communication 5: 4457 http://pubmedcentralcanada.ca/pmcc/articles/PMC4109010/

Chopra D, Wolff H, Span J, Schellmann S, Coupland G, Albani MC, Schrader A, Hülskamp M (2014). Analysis of TTG1 function in Arabis alpina. BMC Plant Biol. 14 (1):16, doi:10.1186/1471-2229-14-16

Bergonzi S*, Albani MC*,  Ver Loren van Themaat E, Nordstrom KJ , Wang R, Schneeberger K, Moerland PD, and  Coupland G (2013): Mechanisms of age-dependent response to winter temperature in perennial flowering of Arabis alpina. Science 340: 1094-7, doi: 10.1126/science.1234116.*These authors contributed equally to this manuscript

Nordström KJV*, Albani MC*, James GV, Gutjahr C, Hartwig B, Turck F, Paszkowski U, Coupland G and Schneeberger K (2013). Mutation identification by direct comparison of whole-genome sequencing data from mutant and wild-type individuals using k-mers", Nature Biotechnology 31: 4: 325-330. *These authors contributed equally to this manuscript

Albani MC, Castaings L, Wotzel S, Mateos JL, Wunder J, Wang R, Reymond M, Coupland G (2012). PEP1 of Arabis alpina is encoded by two overlapping genes that contribute to natural genetic variation in perennial flowering. PLOS Genetics 8:e1003130, doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003130

Koskela EA, Mouhu K, Albani MC, Kurokura T, Rantanen M, Sargent DJ, Battey NH, Coupland G, Elomaa, P, Hytonen T (2012). Mutation in TERMINAL FLOWER1 reverses the photoperiodic requirement for flowering in the wild strawberry Fragaria vesca. Plant Physiology 159(3):1043-54

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