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Article|01 May 2018|OPEN
Alteration of TAC1 expression in Prunus species leads to pleiotropic shoot phenotypes
Courtney A. Hollender1,2, Jessica M. Waite1, Amy Tabb1, Doug Raines1, Srinivasan Chinnithambi1 & Chris Dardick1,
1USDA-ARS Appalachian Fruit Research Station, Kearneysville, WV 25430, USA
2Present address: Department of Horticulture, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA

Horticulture Research 5,
Article number: 26 (2018)
doi: 10.1038/hortres.2018.26
Views: 634

Received: 18 Sep 2017
Revised: 20 Nov 2017
Accepted: 08 Mar 2018
Published online: 01 May 2018

Abstract

Prunus persica (peach) trees carrying the “Pillar” or “Broomy” trait (br) have vertically oriented branches caused by loss-of-function mutations in a gene called TILLER ANGLE CONTROL 1 (TAC1). TAC1 encodes a protein in the IGT gene family that includes LAZY1 and DEEPER ROOTING 1 (DRO1), which regulate lateral branch and root orientations, respectively. Here we found that some of the native TAC1 alleles in the hexaploid plum species Prunus domestica, which has a naturally more upright stature, contained a variable length trinucleotide repeat within the same exon 3 region previously found to be disrupted in pillar peach trees. RNAi silencing of TAC1 in plum resulted in trees with severely vertical branch orientations similar to those in pillar peaches but with an even narrower profile. In contrast, PpeTAC1 overexpression in plum led to trees with wider branch angles and more horizontal branch orientations. Pillar peach trees and transgenic plum lines exhibited pleiotropic phenotypes, including differences in trunk and branch diameter, stem growth, and twisting branch phenotypes. Expression profiling of pillar peach trees revealed differential expression of numerous genes associated with biotic and abiotic stress, hormone responses, plastids, reactive oxygen, secondary, and cell wall metabolism. Collectively, the data provide important clues for understanding TAC1 function and show that alteration of TAC1 expression may have broad applicability to agricultural and ornamental tree industries.