Direct links between the vernalization response and other key traits of cereal crops

Weiwei Deng, M. Cristina Casao, Penghao Wang, Kazuhiro Sato, Patrick M. Hayes, E. Jean Finnegan, Ben Trevaskis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Citations (Scopus)


Transcription of the VERNALIZATION1 gene (VRN1) is induced by prolonged cold (vernalization) to trigger flowering of cereal crops, such as wheat and barley. VRN1 encodes a MADS box transcription factor that promotes flowering by regulating the expression of other genes. Here we use transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) and chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq) to identify direct targets of VRN1. Over 500 genomic regions were identified as potential VRN1-binding targets by ChIP-seq. VRN1 binds the promoter of FLOWERING LOCUS T-like 1, a promoter of flowering in vernalized plants. VRN1 also targets VERNALIZATION2 and ODDSOC2, repressors of flowering that are downregulated in vernalized plants. RNA-seq identified additional VRN1 targets that might play roles in triggering flowering. Other targets of VRN1 include genes that play central roles in low-temperature-induced freezing tolerance, spike architecture and hormone metabolism. This provides evidence for direct regulatory links between the vernalization response pathway and other important traits in cereal crops.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5882
JournalNature communications
Publication statusPublished - Jan 6 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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