Olsen JE, Junttila O, Nilsen J, Eriksson ME, Martinussen I, Olsson O, Sandberg G, Moritz T
Ectopic expression of oat phytochrome A in hybrid aspen changes critical daylength for growth and prevents cold acclimatization
Plant Journal: 1997 12:1339-1350
Survival of temperate-zone tree species under the normal summer-winter cycle is dependent on proper timing of apical growth cessation and cold acclimatization. This timing is primarily based on the perception of daylength, and through evolution many tree species have developed photoperiodic ecotypes which are closely adapted to the local light conditions. The longest photoperiod inducing growth cessation, the critical photoperiod, is inherited as a quantitative character. The phytochrome pigment family is the probable receptor of daylength, but the exact role of phytochrome and the physiological basis for the different responses between photoperiodic ecotypes are not known. This report shows for the first time that overexpression of the oat phytochrome A gene (PHYA) in a tree significantly changes the critical daylength and effectively prevents cold acclimatization. While the critical daylength for elongation growth in the wild-type of hybrid aspen (Populus tremula x tremuloides) was approximately 15 h, transgenic lines with a strong expression of the oat PHYA gene did not stop growing even under a photoperiod of 6 h. Quantitative analysis of gibberellins (GA) as well as indole-a-acetic acid (IAA) revealed that levels of these were not down-regulated under short days in the transgenic plants expressing high levels of oat PHYA, as in the wild-type. These results indicate that photoperiodic responses in trees might be regulated by the amount of PHYA gene expressed in the plants, and that the amount of phytochrome A (phyA) affects the metabolism of GAs and IAA.
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