Analysis of flowering pathway integrators in Arabidopsis

Jihyun Moon, Horim Lee, Minsoo Kim, Ilha Lee
Plant & Cell Physiology 2005, 46 (2): 292-9
Flowering is regulated by an integrated network of several genetic pathways in Arabidopsis. The key genes integrating multiple flowering pathways are FT, SOC1 and LFY. To elucidate the interactions among these integrators, genetic analyses were performed. FT and SOC1 share the common upstream regulators CO, a key component in the long day pathway, and FLC, a flowering repressor integrating autonomous and vernalization pathways. However, the soc1 mutation further delayed the flowering time of long day pathway mutants including ft, demonstrating that SOC1 acts partially independently of FT. Although soc1 did not show an obvious defect in flower meristem determination on its own, it dramatically increased the number of coflorescences in a lfy mutant, which is indicative of a defect in floral initiation. Therefore, double mutant analysis shows that the three integrators have both overlapping and independent functions in the determination of flowering time and floral initiation. The expression analysis showed that FT regulates SOC1 expression, and SOC1 regulates LFY expression, but not vice versa, which is consistent with the fact that FT and LFY have the least overlapping functions among the three integrators. The triple mutation ft soc1 lfy did not block flowering completely under long days, indicating the presence of other integrators. Finally, vernalization accelerated flowering of flc ft soc1 and ft soc1 lfy triple mutants, which shows that the vernalization pathway also has targets other than FLC, FT, SOC1 and LFY. Our genetic analysis reveals the intricate nature of genetic networks for flowering.

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