ZCN8 encodes a potential orthologue of Arabidopsis FT florigen that integrates both endogenous and photoperiod flowering signals in maize.
ABSTRACT: Higher plants use multiple perceptive measures to coordinate flowering time with environmental and endogenous cues. Physiological studies show that florigen is a mobile factor that transmits floral inductive signals from the leaf to the shoot apex. Arabidopsis FT protein is widely regarded as the archetype florigen found in diverse plant species, particularly in plants that use inductive photoperiods to flower. Recently, a large family of FT homologues in maize, the Zea CENTRORADIALIS (ZCN) genes, was described, suggesting that maize also contains FT-related proteins that act as a florigen. The product of one member of this large family, ZCN8, has several attributes that make it a good candidate as a maize florigen. Mechanisms underlying the floral transition in maize are less well understood than those of other species, partly because flowering in temperate maize is dependent largely on endogenous signals. The maize indeterminate1 (id1) gene is an important regulator of maize autonomous flowering that acts in leaves to mediate the transmission or production of florigenic signals. This study finds that id1 acts upstream of ZCN8 to control its expression, suggesting a possible new link to flowering in day-neutral maize. Moreover, in teosinte, a tropical progenitor of maize that requires short-day photoperiods to induce flowering, ZCN8 is highly up-regulated in leaves under inductive photoperiods. Finally, vascular-specific expression of ZCN8 in Arabidopsis complements the ft-1 mutation, demonstrating that leaf-specific expression of ZCN8 can induce flowering. These results suggest that ZCN8 may encode a florigen that integrates both endogenous and environmental signals in maize.
PROVIDER: S-EPMC3192997 | BioStudies |