The peach (Prunus persica [L.] Batsch) homeobox gene KNOPE3, which encodes a class 2 knotted-like transcription factor, is regulated during leaf development and triggered by sugars
Class 1 KNOTTED1-like transcription factors (KNOX) are known to regulate plant development, whereas information on class 2 KNOX has been limited. The peach KNOPE3 gene was cloned, belonged to a family of few class 2 members and was located at 66 cM in the Prunus spp. G1 linkage-group. The mRNA localization was diversified in leaf, stem, flower and drupe, but recurred in all organ sieves, suggesting a role in sap nutrient transport. During leaf development, the mRNA earliest localized to primordia sieves and subsequently to mesophyll cells of growing leaves. Consistently, its abundance augmented with leaf expansion. The transcription was monitored in leaves responding to darkening, supply and transport block of sugars. It peaked at 4 h after darkness and dropped under prolonged obscurity, showing a similar kinetic to that of sucrose content variation. Feeding leaflets via the transpiration stream caused KNOPE3 up-regulation at 3 h after fructose, glucose and sucrose absorption and at 12 h after sorbitol. In girdling experiments, leaf KNOPE3 was triggered from 6 h onwards along with sucrose and sorbitol raise. Both the phloem-associated expression and sugar-specific gene modulation suggest that KNOPE3 may play a role in sugar translocation during the development of agro-relevant organs such as drupe.
KeywordsKNOPE3 Transcription factor Peach Gene regulation by light and sugars
We thank Chiara Nicolodi and Mauro Santini (IBBA-CNR) for technical support, Dr. Samuel Forrest (Clemson University, SC, US) for criticism and English revision. Financial sustains derived from the UNICAL (E.C. was awarded by a PhD scholarship), the project “Eumorfo” of CRA-MIPAF and the CNR Agro-food Department (Director Alcide Bertani). This work is dedicated to the memory of our guide Domenico Mariotti (1948–2008).
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