Isolation and functional characterization of JcFT, a FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) homologous gene from the biofuel plant Jatropha curcas

Chaoqiong Li; Li Luo; Qiantang Fu; Longjian Niu; Zeng-Fu Xu
May 2014
BMC Plant Biology;2014, Vol. 14 Issue 1, p1
Academic Journal
Background Physic nut (Jatropha curcas L.) is a potential feedstock for biofuel production because Jatropha oil is highly suitable for the production of the biodiesel and bio-jet fuels. However, Jatropha exhibits low seed yield as a result of unreliable and poor flowering. FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) -like genes are important flowering regulators in higher plants. To date, the flowering genes in Jatropha have not yet been identified or characterized. Results To better understand the genetic control of flowering in Jatropha, an FT homolog was isolated from Jatropha and designated as JcFT. Sequence analysis and phylogenetic relationship of JcFT revealed a high sequence similarity with the FT genes of Litchi chinensis, Populus nigra and other perennial plants. JcFT was expressed in all tissues of adult plants except young leaves, with the highest expression level in female flowers. Overexpression of JcFT in Arabidopsis and Jatropha using the constitutive promoter cauliflower mosaic virus 35S or the phloem-specific promoter Arabidopsis SUCROSE TRANSPORTER 2 promoter resulted in an extremely early flowering phenotype. Furthermore, several flowering genes downstream of JcFT were up-regulated in the JcFToverexpression transgenic plant lines. Conclusions JcFT may encode a florigen that acts as a key regulator in flowering pathway. This study is the first to functionally characterize a flowering gene, namely, JcFT, in the biofuel plant Jatropha.


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