The regulatory pathways of distinct flowering characteristics in Chinese jujube
Xianwei Meng is a PhD student at Hebei Agricultural University, under the supervision of Prof. Mengjun Liu and Prof. Jin Zhao. Her research focuses on the molecular mechanisms of phase change and flowering regulation in Chinese jujube (Ziziphus jujuba Mill.). Compared to most fruit tree species, Chinese jujube, one of the most economically important members of the diverse Rhamnaceae family, has unique characteristics that include a short juvenile phase and extremely fast flower bud differentiation. Revealing its molecular mechanism would be greatly significant to shorten the breeding cycle and flowering regulation not only of this species but of other woody fruit trees. Therefore, her research focused on two themes: the phase change of jujube seedlings and the regulation of jujube flowering. For the first study, the objective was to determine the regulation of jujube flowering. First, the timing of different stages of jujube flowering was analyzed from the morphological and cytological levels. Then the genes related to flowering were identified from the jujube genome, and the temporal and spatial expression rules of flowering were systematically compared. Likely, the photoperiodic response genes were closely related to flower bud differentiation. The photoperiodic pathway genes were actively involved in the phase change of jujube from the juvenile to the adult period. Then, the photoperiod regulation was carried out using wild jujube seedlings. The genes of photoperiod pathway actively responded to the regulation, and the seedlings could bloom early under long days. In addition, the ambient temperature pathway related gene, ZjPIF4, significantly responded to the flowering process with increased temperatures in greenhouse. Finally, the interaction among ZjPHYs, ZjFT, ZjCO5, and ZjPIF4 was verified at the protein level, indicating an interaction between the photoperiod and the temperature sensitive pathway of jujube. At present, Xianwei is committed to studying the molecular mechanism of phase change of jujube seedlings, and the data are under analysis.
Xianwei Meng won the ISHS Young Minds Award for the best oral presentation at the V International Jujube Symposium in China in September 2021.
Xianwei Meng, College of Horticulture, Hebei Agricultural University, Baoding, 071000 China, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The article is available in Chronica Horticulturae