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Identification and characterization of the CONSTANS-like gene family in the short-day plant Chrysanthemum lavandulifolium


The CONSTANS (CO) and CONSTANS-like (COL) genes play key roles in the photoperiodic flowering pathways, and studying their functions can elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying flowering control in photoperiod-regulated plants. We identified eleven COL genes (ClCOL1ClCOL11) in Chrysanthemum lavandulifolium and divided them into three groups that are conserved among the flowering plants based on phylogenetic analysis. Most of the ClCOL genes are primarily expressed in the leaf and shoot apices, except for ClCOL6ClCOL9, which belong to Group II. The expression levels of ClCOL4ClCOL5 and ClCOL7ClCOL8 are up-regulated under inductive short-day (SD) conditions, whereas ClCOL6 is down-regulated under inductive SD conditions. The ClCOL genes exhibit four different diurnal rhythm expressions (Type I–Type IV). The Type I genes (ClCOL4ClCOL5) are highly transcribed under light. The Type II genes (ClCOL1ClCOL2, ClCOL10) display increased expression in darkness and are rapidly suppressed under light. Transcripts of ClCOL6ClCOL9 and ClCOL11, belonging to Type III, are abundant in the late light period or at the beginning of the dark period. ClCOL3 belongs to Type IV, with high expression in the early light period and dark period. The peak expression levels of ClCOL4ClCOL6 are decreased and postponed in the non-inductive night break (NB) and under long-day (LD) conditions, indicating that those genes may play an essential role in the flowering regulation of C. lavandulifolium. The overexpression of ClCOL5 promotes the flowering of Arabidopsis grown under LD conditions, suggesting that ClCOL5 may function as a flowering enhancer in C. lavandulifolium. This study will be useful not only for the study of the C. lavandulifolium photoperiod-dependent flowering process but also for the genetic manipulation of flowering time-related genes to change the flowering time in the chrysanthemum.

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AP1 :





CO, CO-like and TOC1



CO :









Cetyltrimethylammonium bromide


Double B-box



FT :




Hd1 :

Heading date 1

Hd3a :

Heading date 3a










Metal tolerance protein


Night break




Quantitative real-time RT-PCR


Rapid amplification of cDNA ends


SAND family protein



SOC1 :





Salt Tolerance Homologs


Salt Tolerance-like protein

SUR2 :



Melting temperatures

TUB2 :





Zeitgeber time


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This work was supported by the Beijing Natural Science Foundation (Grant Number 6132020) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant Number BLYJ20133).

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Correspondence to Silan Dai.

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Communicated by S. Hohmann.

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Fu, J., Yang, L. & Dai, S. Identification and characterization of the CONSTANS-like gene family in the short-day plant Chrysanthemum lavandulifolium . Mol Genet Genomics 290, 1039–1054 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00438-014-0977-3

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  • CONSTANS-like
  • Diurnal expression
  • Chrysanthemum lavandulifolium
  • Flowering time
  • Photoperiod