Isolation of a CENTRORADIALIS/TERMINAL FLOWER1 homolog in saffron (Crocus sativus L.): characterization and expression analysis

Mol Biol Rep. 2012 Aug;39(8):7899-910. doi: 10.1007/s11033-012-1634-8. Epub 2012 Apr 26.


Genes in the phosphatidyl-ethanolamine-binding protein (PEBP) family are instrumental in regulating the fate of meristems and flowering time. To investigate the role of these genes in the monocotyledonous plant Crocus (Crocus sativus L), an industrially important crop cultivated for its nutritional and medicinal properties, we have cloned and characterized a CENTRORADIALIS/TERMINAL FLOWER1 (CEN/TFL1) like gene, named CsatCEN/TFL1-like, the first reported CEN/TFL1 gene characterized from such a perennial geophyte. Sequence analysis revealed that CsatCEN/TFL1 shows high similarity to its homologous PEBP family genes CEN/TFL1, FT and MFT from a variety of plant species and maintains the same exon/intron organization. Phylogenetic analysis of the CsatCEN/TFL1 amino acid sequence confirmed that the isolated sequences belong to the CEN/TFL1 clade of the PEBP family. CsatCEN/TFL1 transcripts could be detected in corms, flower and flower organs but not in leaves. An alternative spliced transcript was also detected in the flower. Comparison of expression levels of CsatCEN/TFL1 and its alternative spliced transcript in wild type flower and a double flower mutant showed no significant differences. Overexpression of CsatCEN/TFL1 transcript in Arabidopsis tfl1 plants reversed the phenotype of early flowering and terminal flowering of the tfl1 plants to a normal one. Computational analysis of the obtained promoter sequences revealed, next to common binding motifs in CEN/TFL1-like genes as well as other flowering gene promoters, the presence of two CArG binding sites indicative of control of CEN/TFL1 by MADS-box transcription factors involved in crocus flowering and flower organ formation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Crocus / classification
  • Crocus / genetics*
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genes, Plant*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Phosphatidylethanolamine Binding Protein / genetics*
  • Phylogeny
  • Plant Proteins / genetics*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Sequence Alignment


  • Phosphatidylethanolamine Binding Protein
  • Plant Proteins