Variations in flowering time and plant architecture have a crucial impact on crop biomass and yield, as well as the aesthetic value of ornamental plants. Aechmea fasciata, a member of the Bromeliaceae family, is a bromeliad variety that is commonly cultivated worldwide. Here, we report the characterization of AfSPL14, a squamosa promoter binding protein-like gene in A. fasciata. AfSPL14 was predominantly expressed in the young vegetative organs of adult plants. The expression of AfSPL14 could be upregulated within 1 h by exogenous ethephon treatment. The constitutive expression of AfSPL14 in Arabidopsis thaliana caused early flowering and variations in plant architecture, including smaller rosette leaves and thicker and increased numbers of main inflorescences. Our findings suggest that AfSPL14 may help facilitate the molecular breeding of A. fasciata, other ornamental and edible bromeliads (e.g., pineapple), and even cereal crops.
Keywords: Aechmea fasciata; bromeliad; flowering time; plant architecture; squamosa promoter binding protein-like.