Most deciduous fruit trees cultivated in the temperate zone require a genotype-dependent amounts of chilling exposure for dormancy release and bud break. In Japanese apricot (Prunus mume), DORMANCY-ASSOCIATED MADS-box 6 (PmDAM6) may influence chilling-mediated dormancy release and bud break. In this study, we attempted to elucidate the biological functions of PmDAM6 related to dormancy regulation by analyzing PmDAM6-overex-pressing transgenic apple (Malus spp.). We generated 35S:PmDAM6 lines and chemically inducible overexpression lines, 35S:PmDAM6-GR. In both overexpression lines, shoot growth was inhibited and early bud set was observed. In addition, PmDAM6 expression repressed bud break competency during dormancy and delayed bud break. Moreover, PmDAM6 expression increased abscisic acid levels and decreased cytokinins contents during the late dormancy and bud break stages in both 35S:PmDAM6 and 35S:PmDAM6-GR. Our analysis also suggested that abscisic acid levels increased during dormancy but subsequently decreased during dormancy release whereas cytokinins contents increased during the bud break stage in dormant Japanese apricot buds. We previously revealed that PmDAM6 expression is continuously down-regulated during dormancy release toward bud break in Japanese apricot. The PmDAM6 expression pattern was concurrent with a decrease and increase in the abscisic acid and cytokinins contents, respectively, in dormant Japanese apricot buds. Therefore, we hypothesize that PmDAM6 represses the bud break competency during dormancy and bud break stages in Japanese apricot by modulating abscisic acid and cytokinins accumulation in dormant buds.
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