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Article|21 Feb 2023|OPEN
Dual functions of PsmiR172b-PsTOE3 module in dormancy release and flowering in tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa)
Yuxi Zhang1,2 , Linqiang Gao1,2 ,† , Yanyan Wang1,2 ,† , Demei Niu1,2 , Yanchao Yuan1,2 , Chunying Liu1,2 , Xinmei Zhan1,2 , Shupeng Gai,1,2 ,
1College of Life Sciences, Qingdao Agricultural University, Qingdao, 266109, China
2University Key Laboratory of Plant Biotechnology in Shandong Province, Qingdao, 266109, China
*Corresponding author. E-mail:
Both authors contributed equally to the study.

Horticulture Research 10,
Article number: uhad033 (2023)
Views: 236

Received: 27 Jul 2022
Accepted: 14 Feb 2023
Published online: 21 Feb 2023


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are non-coding RNAs that interact with target genes and are involved in many physiological processes in plants. miR172-AP2 mainly plays a role in the regulation of flowering time and floral organ differentiation. Bud dormancy release is necessary for forcing culture of tree peony in winter, but the mechanism of dormancy regulation is unclear. In this study, we found that a miR172 family member, PsmiR172b, was downregulated during chilling-induced bud dormancy release in tree peony, exhibiting a trend opposite to that of PsTOE3. RNA ligase-mediated (RLM) 5′-RACE (rapid amplification of cDNA ends) confirmed that miR172b targeted PsTOE3, and the cleavage site was between bases 12 (T) and 13 (C) within the complementary site to miR172b. The functions of miR172b and PsTOE3 were detected by virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) and their overexpression in tree peony buds. PsmiR172b negatively regulated bud dormancy release, but PsTOE3 promoted bud dormancy release, and the genes associated with bud dormancy release, including PsEBB1PsEBB3PsCYCD, and PsBG6, were upregulated. Further analysis indicated that PsTOE3 directly regulated PsEBB1 by binding to its promoter, and the specific binding site was a C-repeat (ACCGAC). Ectopic expression in Arabidopsis revealed that the PsmiR172b-PsTOE3 module displayed conservative function in regulating flowering. In conclusion, our results provided a novel insight into the functions of PsmiR172-PsTOE3 and possible molecular mechanism underlying bud dormancy release in tree peony.