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ATFL1 (Anti-TFL1), a novel orthologue induces flowering in the masting alpine snow tussock, Chionochloa pallens (Poaceae)
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  • Samarth *,
  • Robyn Lee,
  • Dave Kelly,
  • Matthew Turnbull,
  • Richard Macknight,
  • Anthony Poole,
  • Paula Jameson
Samarth *
University of Canterbury
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Robyn Lee
University of Canterbury
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Dave Kelly
University of Canterbury
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Matthew Turnbull
University of Canterbury
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Richard Macknight
University of Otago
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Anthony Poole
The University of Auckland
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Paula Jameson
University of Canterbury
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Abstract

Masting, the synchronous highly variable flowering across years by a population of perennial plants, has been shown to be precipitated by many factors including nitrogen levels, drought conditions, spring and summer temperatures. However, the molecular mechanism leading to the initiation of flowering in masting plants in particular years remains largely unknown, despite the potential impact of climate change on masting phenology. We studied genes controlling flowering in Chionochloa pallens, a strongly masting perennial grass. We used a range of in situ and manipulated plants to obtain leaf samples from tillers (shoots) which subsequently remained vegetative or flowered. Here, we show that a novel orthologue of TERMINAL FLOWER 1 (TFL1; normally a repressor of flowering in other species) promotes the induction of flowering in C. pallens (hence Anti-TFL1), a conclusion supported by structural, functional and expression analyses. Global transcriptomic analysis indicated differential expression of CpTPS1, CpGA20ox1, CpREF6 and CpHDA6, emphasising the role of endogenous cues and epigenetic regulation in terms of responsiveness of plants to initiate flowering. Our molecular-based study has provided insights into the cellular mechanism of flowering in masting plants and will supplement ecological and statistical models to predict how masting will respond to global climate change.

Peer review status:IN REVISION

29 May 2021Submitted to Molecular Ecology
24 Jun 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
30 Jun 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
27 Jul 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
09 Aug 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
09 Aug 20211st Revision Received
28 Sep 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
07 Oct 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
07 Oct 20212nd Revision Received