For a flowering plant, the transition from vegetative stage to reproductive growth is probably the most critical developmental switch. In the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, the product ofBBX7, group II member of BBX family, acts to delay floral transition.
In a new study, a presumed chrysanthemum homolog of a second group gene AtBBX8, designated CmBBX8, had been isolated and characterized. The transcription of CmBBX8 followed a diurnal rhythm as the chrysanthemum floral transition regulator.
Overexpression of CmBBX8 accelerated flowering, while its (artificial microRNAs) amiR-enabled knockdown delayed flowering in plants grown under both long- and short-day conditions. Global expression analysis revealed that genes associated with photoperiod were down-regulated in amiR-CmBBX8 lines compared with the wild type, which were verified to be up-regulated in overexpressing lines (OX-CmBBX8) by RT-PCR.
A number of in vitro assays were used to show that CmBBX8 targets CmFTL1. Furthermore,the function of CmFTL1 as a floral inducer under long-day conditions was confirmed by the behaviour of engineered summer-flowering chrysanthemum plants. The conclusion is that the BBX8-FT regulatory module is an important determinant of reproductive development in summer-flowering chrysanthemum.