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A possible role for flowering locus T‐encoding genes in interpreting environmental and internal cues affecting olive (Olea europaea L.) flower induction

Haberman, Amnon, Bakhshian, Ortal, Cerezo‐Medina, Sergio, Paltiel, Judith, Adler, Chen, Ben‐Ari, Giora, Mercado, Jose Angel, Pliego‐Alfaro, Fernando, Lavee, Shimon, Samach, Alon
Plant, cell and environment 2017 v.40 no.8 pp. 1263-1280
Arabidopsis, Mediterranean diet, Olea europaea, buds, flowering, gene overexpression, genes, inflorescences, juvenility, leaves, loci, olive oil, olives, spring, summer, temperature, trees, winter
Olive (Olea europaea L.) inflorescences, formed in lateral buds, flower in spring. However, there is some debate regarding time of flower induction and inflorescence initiation. Olive juvenility and seasonality of flowering were altered by overexpressing genes encoding flowering locus T (FT). OeFT1 and OeFT2 caused early flowering under short days when expressed in Arabidopsis. Expression of OeFT1/2 in olive leaves and OeFT2 in buds increased in winter, while initiation of inflorescences occurred i n late winter. Trees exposed to an artificial warm winter expressed low levels of OeFT1/2 in leaves and did not flower. Olive flower induction thus seems to be mediated by an increase in FT levels in response to cold winters. Olive flowering is dependent on additional internal factors. It was severely reduced in trees that carried a heavy fruit load the previous season (harvested in November) and in trees without fruit to which cold temperatures were artificially applied in summer. Expression analysis suggested that these internal factors work either by reducing the increase in OeFT1/2 expression or through putative flowering repressors such as TFL1. With expected warmer winters, future consumption of olive oil, as part of a healthy Mediterranean diet, should benefit from better understanding these factors.