Open Access Research article

Central role of the flowering repressor ZCCT2 in the redox control of freezing tolerance and the initial development of flower primordia in wheat

Zsolt Gulyás12, Ákos Boldizsár1, Aliz Novák12, Gabriella Szalai1, Magda Pál1, Gábor Galiba13 and Gábor Kocsy12*

Author Affiliations

1 Agricultural Institute, Centre for Agricultural Research, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Brunszvik u. 2, 2462 Martonvásár, Hungary

2 Doctoral School of Molecular and Nanotechnologies, Research Institute of Chemical and Process Engineering, Faculty of Information Technology, University of Pannonia, Egyetem u. 10, 8200 Veszprém, Hungary

3 Doctoral School of Animal and Agricultural Environmental Sciences, Department of Plant Sciences and Biotechnology, Georgikon Faculty, University of Pannonia, Deák Ferenc u. 16, 8360 Keszthely, Hungary

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BMC Plant Biology 2014, 14:91  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-14-91

Published: 7 April 2014



As both abiotic stress response and development are under redox control, it was hypothesised that the pharmacological modification of the redox environment would affect the initial development of flower primordia and freezing tolerance in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.).


Pharmacologically induced redox changes were monitored in winter (T. ae. ssp. aestivum cv. Cheyenne, Ch) and spring (T. ae. ssp. spelta; Tsp) wheat genotypes grown after germination at 20/17°C for 9 d (chemical treatment: last 3 d), then at 5°C for 21 d (chemical treatment: first 4 d) and subsequently at 20/17°C for 21 d (recovery period). Thiols and their disulphide forms were measured and based on these data reduction potentials were calculated. In the freezing-tolerant Ch the chemical treatments generally increased both the amount of thiol disulphides and the reduction potential after 3 days at 20/17°C. In the freezing-sensitive Tsp a similar effect of the chemicals on these parameters was only observed after the continuation of the treatments for 4 days at 5°C. The applied chemicals slightly decreased root fresh weight and increased freezing tolerance in Ch, whereas they increased shoot fresh weight in Tsp after 4 days at 5°C. As shown after the 3-week recovery at 20/17°C, the initial development of flower primordia was accelerated in Tsp, whereas it was not affected by the treatments in Ch. The chemicals differently affected the expression of ZCCT2 and that of several other genes related to freezing tolerance and initial development of flower primordia in Ch and Tsp after 4 d at 5°C.


Various redox-altering compounds and osmotica had differential effects on glutathione disulphide content and reduction potential, and consequently on the expression of the flowering repressor ZCCT2 in the winter wheat Ch and the spring wheat Tsp. We propose that the higher expression of ZCCT2 in Ch may be associated with activation of genes of cold acclimation and its lower expression in Tsp with the induction of genes accelerating initial development of flower primordia. In addition, ZCCT2 may be involved in the coordinated control of the two processes.

Glutathione; Redox state; Initial development of flower primordia; Freezing tolerance; Wheat; ZCCT2 gene