Plant Cell Reports

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 25–35 | Cite as

The overexpression of cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) genes that encode the branched-chain amino acid transferase modulate flowering time in Arabidopsis thaliana

  • Jeong Hwan Lee
  • Young-Cheon Kim
  • Youjin Jung
  • Ji Hoon Han
  • Chunying Zhang
  • Cheol-Won Yun
  • Sanghyeob LeeEmail author
Original Article


Key message

The overexpression of CsBCATs promotes flowering in Arabidopsis by regulating the expression of flowering time genes.


The branched-chain amino acid transferases (BCATs) play an important role in the metabolism of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), such as isoleucine, leucine, and valine. They function in both the synthesis and the degradation of this class of amino acids. We identified and characterized the three BCAT genes in cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.). The tissue-specific expression profiling in cucumber plants revealed that CsBCAT2 and CsBCAT7 were highly expressed in the reproductive tissues, whereas CsBCAT3 expression was highly detected in the vegetative tissues. The subcellular localization patterns of three CsBCATs were observed in the mitochondria. The functional analyses of CsBCATs showed that CsBCAT2 and CsBCAT3 restored the growth of bat1Δ/bat2Δ double knockout yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), and CsBCAT3 and CsBCAT7 with different substrate preferences acted in a reverse reaction. The transgenic approach demonstrated that the overexpression of the three CsBCATs resulted in early flowering phenotypes, which were associated with the upregulation of FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) and SUPPRESSOR OF OVEREXPRESSION OF CONSTANS1 (SOC1) in a manner in which they were dependent on GIGANTEA (GI)/CONSTANS (CO) and SHORT VEGETATIVE PHASE (SVP)/FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC) modules. Our results, which are observed in conjunction, suggest that there is an interconnection between BCAT genes that function in BCAA metabolism and the flowering time in plants.


Branched-chain amino acid Branched-chain amino acid transferase Cucumber CsBCATs Flowering time 



Branched-chain amino acid


Branched-chain aminotransferase















This work was supported by Grants from the National Research Foundation of Korea, and the Next-Generation BioGreen 21 Program (Plant Molecular Breeding Center no. PJ01329601) of the Rural Development Administration, Republic of Korea.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors do not have any conflicts of interest to declare.

Supplementary material

299_2018_2346_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.4 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1439 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Bioindustry and Bioresource Engineering, Plant Engineering Research InstituteSejong UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Division of Life SciencesChonbuk National UniversityJeonjuRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Division of Life SciencesKorea UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea

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