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A novel MORN-motif type gene GmMRF2 controls flowering time and plant height of soybean

Jialing Zhang1, Li Chen1, Yupeng Cai, Qiang Su, Yingying Chen, Min Li, Wensheng Hou*.

International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, 2023, IF:8.02

DOI:. 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2023.125464


The flowering time of soybean is a highly important agronomic characteristic, which affects the adaptability and yield. AtMRF1, a MORN-repeat motif gene, acts as a floral promoter in Arabidopsis, its functions in soybean are not yet understood. Here, we employed qRT-PCR to analyze the tissue expression patten of MRF1 homologs in soybean and determined that the GmMRF2 gene, containing a MORN-motif, highly expressed in the shoot and responded to photoperiod. GmMRF2 overexpression soybean lines exhibited earlier flowering time under longday (LD) conditions, and increased plant height under both LD and short-day (SD) conditions compared to wild-type (WT) plants. The expression levels of gibberellic acid (GA) pathway genes that positively regulate plant height genes and flowering-promoting genes were up-regulated in the GmMRF2 overexpression lines, were upregulated in the GmMRF2 overexpression lines. Further study revealed that GmMRF2 interacted with GmTCP15 to co-induce the expression of GmSOC1b. Together, our results preliminarily reveal the functions and mechanisms of GmMRF2 in regulating flowering time and plant height, provide a new promising gene for soybean crop improvement.