The MADS-box gene DAL1 is a potential mediator of the juvenile-to-adult transition in Norway spruce (Picea abies)

Plant J. 2004 Nov;40(4):546-57. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2004.02226.x.


Progression through the plant life cycle involves change in many essential features, most notably in the capacity to reproduce. The transition from a juvenile vegetative and non-reproductive to an adult reproductive phase is gradual and can take many years; in the conifer Norway spruce, Picea abies, typically 20-25 years. We present a detailed analysis of the activities of three regulatory genes with potential roles in this transition in Norway spruce: DAL1, a MADS-box gene related to the AGL6 group of genes from angiosperms, and the two LEAFY-related genes PaLFY and PaNLY. DAL1 activity is initiated in the shoots of juvenile trees at an age of 3-5 years, and then increases with age, whereas both LFY genes are active throughout the juvenile phase. The activity of DAL1 further shows a spatial pattern along the stem of the tree that parallels a similar gradient in physiological and morphological features associated with maturation to the adult phase. Constitutive expression of DAL1 in transgenic Arabidopsis plants caused a dramatic attenuation of both juvenile and adult growth phases; flowers forming immediately after the embryonic phase of development in severely affected plants. Taken together, our results support the notion that DAL1 may have a regulatory role in the juvenile-to-adult transition in Norway spruce.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genes, Regulator*
  • MADS Domain Proteins / biosynthesis
  • MADS Domain Proteins / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Picea / genetics*
  • Picea / growth & development*
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Plant Leaves / ultrastructure
  • Plant Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Plant Proteins / genetics*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified


  • MADS Domain Proteins
  • Plant Proteins

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AY701762
  • GENBANK/AY701763