Titanotrichum oldhamii inflorescences switch from flower to bulbil production at the end of the flowering season. The structure of the bulbiliferous shoots resembles the abnormal meristematic organization of the Antirrhinum mutant, floricaula. Gesneriaceae- FLORICAULA (GFLO) is thus a candidate gene in the regulation of bulbil formation. To investigate this hypothesis, part of the GFLO gene (between the second and third exon) was isolated using degenerate primers designed in regions conserved between Antirrhinum, Nicotiana and Arabidopsis, followed by genome walking to obtain the complete gene and flanking sequences. RT-PCR results showed that the GFLO homologue is strongly expressed in inflorescence apical meristems and young flowers. However, in meristems that had switched to bulbil formation, GFLO transcription was greatly reduced. The down-regulation of GFLO in bulbil primordia indicates that this gene is connected to, or part of, the bulbil-flower regulatory pathway. Phylogenetic analysis confirms the orthology of GFLO and FLO, and indicates that the gene may be useful for phylogenetic reconstruction at the genus or family level.
Altered expression of GFLO, the Gesneriaceae homologue of FLORICAULA/LEAFY, is associated with the transition to bulbil formation in Titanotrichum oldhamii
Publication: Development Genes and Evolution