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Durham University

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Publication details for Dr Miguel de-Lucas

Agustí, M. Mesejo, C. Muñoz-Fambuena, N., Vera-Sirera, F. De Lucas, M., Martínez-Fuentes, A. Reig, C., Iglesias, D.J. Primo-Millo, E. & Blázquez, M.A. (2019). Fruit-dependent epigenetic regulation of flowering in Citrus. New Phytologist 225(1): 376-384.

Author(s) from Durham


In many perennial plants, seasonal flowering is primarily controlled by environmental conditions, but in certain polycarpic plants, environmental signals are locally gated by the presence of developing fruits initiated in the previous season through an unknown mechanism.

Polycarpy is defined as the ability of plants to undergo several rounds of reproduction during their life time, alternating vegetative and reproductive meristems in the same individual.

To understand how fruits regulate flowering in polycarpic plants, we have focused on alternate bearing in Citrus trees that had been experimentally established as fully flowering or non flowering.

We have found that the presence of the fruit causes epigenetic changes correlating with the induction of the CcMADS19 floral repressor, which prevents the activation of the floral promoter CiFT2 even in the presence of the floral inductive signals. In contrast, newly emerging shoots display an opposite epigenetic scenario associated with CcMADS19 repression, thereby allowing the activation of CiFT2 the following cold season.