Functional & Integrative Genomics

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 43–60 | Cite as

SUPPRESSOR OF OVEREXPRESSION OF CONSTANS1 influences flowering time, lateral branching, oil quality, and seed yield in Brassica juncea cv. Varuna

  • Shikha Tyagi
  • Tanu Sri
  • Anupama Singh
  • Pratiksha Mayee
  • S. M. Shivaraj
  • Prateek Sharma
  • Anandita SinghEmail author
Original Article


SOC1, a MADS-box type II transcription factor, integrates environmental and endogenous cues to promote flowering in angiosperms. Recent reports implicating SOC1 in roles beyond floral transition prompted functional characterization of SOC1 in polyploid rapeseed mustard genomes. Gene characterization in Brassicas necessitates analysis of composite homeolog function. While insertional mutagenesis is untenable in Brassicas owing to gene redundancy, gain-of-function approach entails serial characterization of individual homeologs. Herein, we demonstrate modulated floral promotive effects in natural variants of Brassica SOC1 and provide lateral branching as a probable outcome of polyploidy-induced gene diversification. Ectopic expression of two B genome specific SOC1 variants in Arabidopsis thaliana resulted in differential floral acceleration and manifestation of multiple vegetative rosettes. Characterization of composite homeolog function in B. juncea via introgression of Brassica SOC1 specific artificial miRNA, designed to target homeologs, also exhibited modifications in floral transition and lateral branching. Comprehensive analysis of field performance of B. juncea transgenics displayed altered fitness across 11 agronomic traits. Crucially, reduced SOC1 levels directly impacted two developmental traits, namely, flowering time and number of lateral branches which in turn influenced several dependent agronomic traits. While delayed flowering and crop maturity resulted in altered fatty acid composition with higher SFA and lower PUFA in transgenics relative to controls, reduction in overall count of lateral branches caused a concomitant decrease in silique count which ultimately impacted total seed yield in transgenics. Statistical analysis revealed number of secondary branches as the most critical trait influencing seed yield. Based on our findings, we propose enhancing levels Brassica SOC1, a key target, for achieving earliness in flowering, improved seed yield and oil quality, and studying trait trade-offs.


Homeologs Artificial miRNA Natural variation Flowering time Oil quality Brassica crop 



Total leaf number (at the time of flowering)


Artificial miRNA designed to target B. juncea SOC1


Days taken to 50% flowering


Days after sowing


Total free energy of binding


Energy gained after (miRNA-target) duplex formation


Least fractionated


Most fractionated


Minimum free energy


Gas chromatography and mass spectrometry


Relative humidity


National Phytotron Facility


Saturated fatty acid


Monounsaturated fatty acids


Polyunsaturated fatty acid


C-terminal domain


Nuclear localization signal


Relative quantification


Web MicroRNA Designer







Junior and Senior Research Fellowships to AS and ST, respectively, is acknowledged. Part of this data has appeared in the doctoral thesis of PM (Mayee 2016). Technical assistance from AIRF, JNU, New Delhi, and NPF, IARI, India, is appreciated. The contribution of Mr. Hari Ram Gupta in field-related activities is duly recognized. We are thankful to Mr. Subodh Kumar Budakoti (Sr. Application Chemist in Shimadzu Analytical (India) Pvt. Ltd.) for technical help in analysis of GC-MS data. Infrastructural support from TERI and TERI School of Advanced Studies is gratefully acknowledged.

Author contributions

ST, TS, AS, PM, and SMS performed experiments. ST coordinated and executed the fieldwork and was involved in overall compilation of data. ST, TS, and AS were involved in data acquisition and generation. ST, TS, AS, PS, and AS* analyzed the results and interpreted the findings. PS conceptualized statistical tests and was involved in data analysis and drawing critical inferences from field data. ST and AS* drafted the manuscript. AS* conceptualized, designed experiments and supervised the overall study. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Funding information

This work was supported by grants received from Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India, towards the projects BT/PR10071/AGR/36/31/2007, BT/PR628/AGR/36/674/2011, and BT/PR 15052/16/908/2011. Financial assistance as JRF to TS from University Grants Commission, Govt. of India, is gratefully appreciated.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict interests.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shikha Tyagi
    • 1
  • Tanu Sri
    • 1
  • Anupama Singh
    • 1
  • Pratiksha Mayee
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. M. Shivaraj
    • 1
    • 3
  • Prateek Sharma
    • 4
  • Anandita Singh
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of BiotechnologyTERI School of Advanced StudiesNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.Department of ResearchAnkur Seeds Pvt. Ltd.NagpurIndia
  3. 3.Département de Phytologie–Faculté des Sciences de l’Agriculture et de l’AlimentationUniversité LavalQuébecCanada
  4. 4.Department of Energy and EnvironmentTERI School of Advanced StudiesNew DelhiIndia

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