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Article|10 Nov 2022|OPEN
A splice site mutation in the FvePHP gene is associated with leaf development and flowering time in woodland strawberry
Baotian Wang1,2 , Weijia Li1,2,3 , Kexin Xu1,2 and Yingying Lei1,2 , Di Zhao4 , Xue Li1,2 , Junxiang Zhang1,2 , , Zhihong Zhang,1,2,4 ,
1Liaoning Key Laboratory of Strawberry Breeding and Cultivation, College of Horticulture, Shenyang Agricultural University, Shenyang, 110866, China
2Laboratory of Protected Horticulture (Shenyang Agricultural University), Ministry of Education, Shenyang, 110866, China
3Institute of Carbon Materials Science, Shanxi Datong University, Datong, 037009, China
4Analytical and Testing Center, Shenyang Agricultural University, Shenyang, 110866, China
*Corresponding author. E-mail:,

Horticulture Research 10,
Article number: uhac249 (2023)
Views: 273

Received: 03 Jun 2022
Accepted: 01 Nov 2022
Published online: 10 Nov 2022


Leaves and flowers are crucial for the growth and development of higher plants. In this study we identified a mutant with narrow leaflets and early flowering (nlef) in an ethyl methanesulfonate-mutagenized population of woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca) and aimed to identify the candidate gene. Genetic analysis revealed that a single recessive gene, nlef, controlled the mutant phenotype. We found that FvH4_1g25470, which encodes a putative DNA polymerase α with a polymerase and histidinol phosphatase domain (PHP), might be the candidate gene, using bulked segregant analysis with whole-genome sequencing, molecular markers, and cloning analyses. A splice donor site mutation (C to T) at the 5′ end of the second intron led to an erroneous splice event that reduced the expression level of the full-length transcript of FvePHP in mutant plants. FvePHP was localized in the nucleus and was highly expressed in leaves. Silencing of FvePHP using the virus-induced gene silencing method resulted in partial developmental defects in strawberry leaves. Overexpression of the FvePHP gene can largely restore the mutant phenotype. The expression levels of FveSEP1FveSEP3FveAP1FveFUL, and FveFT were higher in the mutants than those in ‘Yellow Wonder’ plants, probably contributing to the early flowering phenotype in mutant plants. Our results indicate that mutation in FvePHP is associated with multiple developmental pathways. These results aid in understanding the role of DNA polymerase in strawberry development.