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Research Abstracts Online
January 2008 - March 2009

University of Minnesota Twin Cities
College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences
Department of Horticultural Science

PI: Cindy B. Tong

Changes in Gene Expression Related to Inhibition of Potato Tuberization

One of the unique features of potatoes not found in the model plant Arabidopsis is the ability to tuberize. The process of tuberization is complex, and like most developmental processes, affected by genetic, biochemical, nutritional, and environmental factors. One such environmental factor affecting tuberization is light, both in quantity and quality. This researchers found that blue light inhibits tuberization in Norland, a day-neutral variety of Solanum tuberosum L. "Norland" tissue-cultured plantlets placed in tuber-inducing media formed tubers within eight weeks under continuous darkness, and white, red, or far-red light. Preliminary experiments indicated that a one- or two-day exposure to blue light after four weeks of dark treatment will inhibit tuber formation in "Norland" plants (plants are returned to darkness after blue light exposure and compared to plants kept continuously in the dark). Expression profiling was used to determine what genes are affected by the blue light treatment compared to dark controls, and identify metabolic pathways that could lead to identification of one or more tuber induction inhibitors.