KiwifruitSVP2gene prevents premature budbreak during dormancy

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MADS-box genes similar toArabidopsis thaliana SHORT VEGETATIVE PHASE(SVP) have been implicated in regulation of flowering in annual species and winter dormancy in perennial species. However, the underlying regulatory mechanisms remain to be identified. In this study, the role of kiwifruitSVP2was explored using ectopic transgenic expression in kiwifruit species with different chilling requirements and the model species tobacco, followed by transcriptomic analysis of transgenic kiwifruit plants. Ectopic expression ofSVP2affected the duration of dormancy in a high-chill kiwifruitActinidia deliciosa. This effect could be overcome by sufficient winter chilling.SVP2had a minimal effect on the duration of dormancy in a low-chill kiwifruitA. eriantha. Expression in a tobacco cultivar with photoperiodic regulation of flowering resulted in retarded vegetative growth but no impact on flowering. Transcriptomic analyses of the kiwifruitSVP2transgenic and control lines identified 92 significantly differentially expressed genes potentially involved inSVP2-mediated growth repression during dormancy, suggesting a role complementary to abscisic acid (ABA). This study has demonstrated that kiwifruitSVP2has an integrative role in suppression of meristem activity to prevent precocious budbreak before the fulfilment of winter chilling requirements.

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