Regulated RNA processing in the control of Arabidopsis flowering

Victor Quesada, Caroline Dean, Gordon G Simpson
International Journal of Developmental Biology 2005, 49 (5): 773-80
Flowering time is controlled in order to ensure reproductive success. Molecular genetic analyses in Arabidopsis thaliana have identified many genes regulating this developmental switch. One group of factors which promote flowering do so by down-regulating the expression of the MADS-box floral repressor, FLC. RNA processing appears to play an important role in this regulation as genes within this group encode RNA binding proteins (FCA, FPA and FLK) and an mRNA 3' end processing factor (FY). FCA promotes flowering and negatively autoregulates its own expression post-transcriptionally through a mechanism that involves alternative polyadenylation. FCA physically interacts with FY and this interaction is required for the function FY performs in flowering control and in FCA autoregulation. Potential similarities are emerging in the molecular mechanisms controlling FLC expression and those controlling the floral homeotic gene, AGAMOUS. In addition, microRNAs have been shown to regulate plant developmental processes including the timing to flower. Together, these new data indicate that post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression plays an important role in regulating the floral transition.

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