Genetic base of Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh.: Fitness of plants for extreme conditions in northern margins of species range
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Flowering time and vernalization requirement were studied in eight natural Karelian populations (KPs) of Arabidopsis thaliana. These KPs consisted of late-flowering plants with elevated expression of flowering repressor FLC and a reduced expression level of flowering activator SOC1 compared to the early-flowering ecotypes Dijon-M and Cvi-0. Despite variations in flowering time and the vernalization requirement among the KPs, two-week-old seedlings showed no changes in either the nucleotide sequence of the FRI gene or the relative expression levels of FRI and its target gene FLC that would be responsible for this variation. An analysis of abscisic acid (ABA) biosynthesis and catabolism genes (NCED3 and CYP707A2) did not show significant differences between late-flowering KPs and the early-flowering ecotypes Dijon-M and Cvi-0. Cold treatment (4°C for 24 h) induced the expression of not only NCED3, but also RD29B, a gene involved in the ABA-dependent cold-response pathway. The relative levels of cold activation of these genes were nearly equal in all genotypes under study. Thus, the ABA-dependent cold response pathway does not depend on FLC expression. The lack of significant differences between northern populations, as well as the ecotypes Dijon- M (Europe) and Cvi-0 (Cape Verde Islands), indicates that this pathway is not crucial for fitness to the northern environment.
KeywordsFlowering Time Cold Treatment Early Flowering Vernalization Requirement SOC1 Expression
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