Date of this Version
The Plant Cell, Vol. 26: 2831–2842, July 2014
Similar to Arabidopsis thaliana, the wild soybeans (Glycine soja) and many cultivars exhibit indeterminate stem growth specified by the shoot identity gene Dt1, the functional counterpart of Arabidopsis TERMINAL FLOWER1 (TFL1). Mutations in TFL1 and Dt1 both result in the shoot apical meristem (SAM) switching from vegetative to reproductive state to initiate terminal flowering and thus produce determinate stems. A second soybean gene (Dt2) regulating stem growth was identified, which, in the presence of Dt1, produces semideterminate plants with terminal racemes similar to those observed in determinate plants. Here, we report positional cloning and characterization of Dt2, a dominant MADS domain factor gene classified into the APETALA1/SQUAMOSA (AP1/SQUA) subfamily that includes floral meristem (FM) identity genes AP1, FUL, and CAL in Arabidopsis. Unlike AP1, whose expression is limited to FMs in which the expression of TFL1 is repressed, Dt2 appears to repress the expression of Dt1 in the SAMs to promote early conversion of the SAMs into reproductive inflorescences. Given that Dt2 is not the gene most closely related to AP1 and that semideterminacy is rarely seen in wild soybeans, Dt2 appears to be a recent gain-of-function mutation, which has modified the genetic pathways determining the stem growth habit in soybean.