Reduced expression of deficiens-like genes in the sepaloid tepals of viridiflora tulips

A. Kanno, M. Hirai, T. Ochiai, H. Simon, G. Theissen

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The perianths of Liliaceae plants have two outer whorls of almost identical petaloid organs, called tepals. To explain the morphology of Liliaceae flowers, van Tunen et al. (1993) proposed a modified ABC model, exemplified by tulip. According to this model, class B genes are expressed in whorl 1, as well as in whorls 2 and 3. Thus the organs of both whorls 1 and 2 express class A + B genes and hence get the same petaloid structure. Viridiflora is a well-known cultivar group of tulips, whose organs in whorls 1 and 2 are greenish (partially 'sepaloid') rather than fully petaloid, and whose stamens are slightly degenerated. This phenotype is explained under the modified ABC model by a loss of B-function. In this study, we isolated cDNAs of three putative class B genes - comprising DEF- and GLO-like genes - from the viridiflora tulip cultivar 'Spring Green'. The amino acid sequences derived from these sequences were similar to those from wild type tulip. Northern hybridization showed that the expression of TGDEFA and TGDEFB in viridiflora tulips was weaker than that in wild type plants, whereas the expression patterns of TGGLO from wild type and viridiflora tulips were almost identical. These results suggest that the reduction of the expression level of two DEF-like genes is involved in the development of the viridiflora phenotype.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-48
Number of pages6
JournalActa Horticulturae
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Jan 1
Event27th International Horticultural Congress: Symposium 7 - International Symposium on Structural and Functional Genomics of Horticultural Plants - Seoul, Korea, Republic of
Duration: 2006 Aug 132006 Aug 19


  • DEF-like gene
  • Gene expression
  • Liliaceae
  • Modified ABC model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Horticulture


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