Published on Sat Jul 03 2021

Discovery of UPSTREAM OF FLOWERING LOCUS C (UFC) and FLOWERING LOCUS C EXPRESSOR (FLX) in Gladiolus xhybridus, G. dalenii

Aljaser, J., Anderson, N. O., Noyszewski, A.

Ornamental geophytes such as gladiolus, lily, tulip and daffodil are examples of floral crops that are currently being investigated to understand the flowering pathway. While the environmental and hormonal factors leading to flowering are established in Arabidopsis, the lack of genetic regulation is poorly understood.

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Abstract

Gladiolus is a geophytic floricultural crop, cultivated for cut flower and garden ornamental uses. Ornamental geophytes such as gladiolus, lily, tulip and daffodil are examples of floral crops that are currently being investigated to understand the flowering pathway. While the environmental and hormonal factors leading to flowering are established in Arabidopsis. However, the lack of genetic regulation is poorly understood. Thus, the importance of such an ornamental crop that relies on flowers (flowering) for economic purposes encourages researchers to discover the flowering genes to breed vigorous flowering cultivars. The understanding of the flowering mechanisms in the flowering pathway is also paramount. Herein we show the discovery of UPSTREAM OF FLOWERING LOCUS C (UFC) and FLOWERING LOCUS C EXPRESSOR (FLX) genes in Gladiolus xhybridus and G. dalenii. The UFC gene is adjacent to FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC) which is a floral repressor in many temperate species. FLX gene upregulates FRIGIDA (FRI) which upregulates FLC expression. The discovery of both genes is a step forward in finding the FLC gene in gladiolus, provided they are linked. Seventeen gladiolus genotypes, consisting of early flowering and commercial cultivars, have the UFC gene, consisting of four exons in two allelic forms. The UFC gene sequenced when translated into amino acid sequence and set in pair-alignment to other species, has up to 57% in amino acid identity to Musa acuminata. The UFC protein ranges in identity with pair-alignment to other species, reaching up to 57% in amino acid identity to Musa acuminata. The FLX gene in gladiolus has 3/5 (60%) exons in relative to Ananas comosus, i.e. lacking 2 exons and a partially complete gene sequence; the pair-alignment of the three exons shows up over all ~65% identity of FLX to Ananas comosus. The UFC protein consists of a conserved domain, DUF966, which is higher in identity and pair-alignment, with up to 86% identity in Elaeis guineensis. The discovered FLX gene in gladiolus has 3/5 (60%) exons, i.e. lacking 2 exons and a partially complete gene sequence; the pair-alignment of the 3 exons shows up to ~65% of identity of FLX to Ananas comosus. These discovered two genes in gladiolus provide insight to further our understanding of the flowering and vernalization response in ornamental geophytes.