Arabidopsis RNA-binding protein FCA regulates microRNA172 processing in thermosensory flowering.
ABSTRACT: Ambient temperature fluctuates diurnally and seasonally. It profoundly influences the timing of flowering in plants. The floral integrator FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) mediates ambient temperature signals via the thermosensory pathway in Arabidopsis flowering. microRNA172 (miR172), which promotes flowering by inducing FT, also responds to changes in ambient temperature. However, it is largely unknown how miR172 integrates ambient temperature signals into the flowering genetic network. Here, we show that Arabidopsis RNA-binding protein FCA promotes the processing of primary microRNA172 transcripts (pri-miR172) in response to changes in ambient temperature. Ambient temperature regulates miR172 biogenesis primarily at the pri-miR172 processing step. miR172 abundance is elevated at 23 °C but not at 16 °C. miR172 accumulation at 23 °C requires functional FCA. FCA binds to the flanking sequences of the stem-loop within the pri-miR172 transcripts via the RNA recognition motif. FCA also binds to the primary transcripts of other temperature-responsive miRNAs, such as miR398 and miR399. Notably, levels of FCA mRNAs and proteins increase at 23 °C but remain low at 16 °C, supporting the role of FCA in temperature perception. Our data show that FCA regulation of miR172 processing is an early event in the thermosensory flowering pathway. We propose that the FCA-miR172 regulon provides an adaptive strategy that fine tunes the onset of flowering under fluctuating ambient temperature conditions.
Project description:Flowering is the primary trait affected by ambient temperature changes. Plant microRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs playing an important regulatory role in plant development. In this study, to elucidate the mechanism of flowering-time regulation by small RNAs, we identified six ambient temperature-responsive miRNAs (miR156, miR163, miR169, miR172, miR398 and miR399) in Arabidopsis via miRNA microarray and northern hybridization analyses. We also determined the expression profile of 120 unique miRNA loci in response to ambient temperature changes by miRNA northern hybridization analysis. The expression of the ambient temperature-responsive miRNAs and their target genes was largely anticorrelated at two different temperatures (16 and 23 degrees C). Interestingly, a lesion in short vegetative phase (SVP), a key regulator within the thermosensory pathway, caused alteration in the expression of miR172 and a subset of its target genes, providing a link between a thermosensory pathway gene and miR172. The miR172-overexpressing plants showed a temperature-independent early flowering phenotype, suggesting that modulation of miR172 expression leads to temperature insensitivity. Taken together, our results suggest a genetic framework for flowering-time regulation by ambient temperature-responsive miRNAs under non-stress temperature conditions.
Project description:MicroRNAs are generated from primary transcripts (pri-miRNAs) that form hairpin structures. Plant miRNAs play an important role in regulating flowering; however, little is known about the role of their structures in ambient temperature-responsive flowering. We recently showed that disruption of base pairing in the second stem (S2) in the upper stem of pri-miR156a caused hypersensitive flowering in response to ambient temperature changes. To further substantiate our findings on the role of S2 of pri-miR156a, we analyzed the effects of serial disruption (from the proximal or distal sides) of base-pairing in S2 of pri-miR156a on temperature-dependent flowering. We found that flowering time was gradually delayed with increasing size of the proximal disruption of S2 at 16°C. Particularly, disrupting base pairing of 5 nucleotides from the proximal side caused flowering to be hypersensitive to ambient temperature changes, which is similar to the phenotype of plants overexpressing pri-miR156a with a disruption of S2 (156-DBP-S2). However, disrupting base pairing from the distal side did not cause late flowering at 16°C and thus did not cause temperature-sensitive flowering. These results supported our notion that the second stem (S2) in the upper stem of pri-miR156a plays a role in the regulation of ambient temperature-responsive flowering.
Project description:MicroRNAs originate from primary transcripts (pri-miRNAs) containing hairpin structures. Plant pri-miRNAs have highly variable structures and little is known about the information encoded in their secondary structures. Arabidopsis miR156 is an ambient temperature-responsive miRNA and plays an important role in regulating flowering time. To identify the structural determinants for miR156 processing, we analyzed the effects of mutations introduced in the upper stem of pri-miR156a on its temperature-dependent processing and flowering time. The levels of pri-miR156a and mature miR156 were opposite at different temperatures. Mutations in the upper stem, especially the region closer to the miR156a/miR156a* duplex, reduced miR156 processing at 23 °C and 16 °C and caused a less severe phenotype compared with the un-mutated construct. Mutation in the second stem near the first cleavage site of pri-miR156a affected miR156 processing at 23 °C, but not at 16 °C. This was also seen in pri-miR172a, another ambient temperature-responsive miRNA. Replacement of the upper stem of pri-miR156a with that of pri-miR172a severely affected miR156 processing and flowering time. These results suggested that the upper stem of pri-miR156a is important for miR156 processing at different temperatures. In particular, the second stem adjacent to the first cleavage site plays a role in the regulation of ambient temperature-responsive flowering.
Project description:Flowering is a crucial determinant for plant reproductive success and seed-set. Increasing temperature and elevated carbon-dioxide (e[CO2]) are key climate change factors that could affect plant fitness and flowering related events. Addressing the effect of these environmental factors on flowering events such as time of day of anthesis (TOA) and flowering time (duration from germination till flowering) is critical to understand the adaptation of plants/crops to changing climate and is the major aim of this review. Increasing ambient temperature is the major climatic factor that advances flowering time in crops and other plants, with a modest effect of e[CO2].Integrated environmental stimuli such as photoperiod, temperature and e[CO2] regulating flowering time is discussed. The critical role of plant tissue temperature influencing TOA is highlighted and crop models need to substitute ambient air temperature with canopy or floral tissue temperature to improve predictions. A complex signaling network of flowering regulation with change in ambient temperature involving different transcription factors (PIF4, PIF5), flowering suppressors (HvODDSOC2, SVP, FLC) and autonomous pathway (FCA, FVE) genes, mainly from Arabidopsis, provides a promising avenue to improve our understanding of the dynamics of flowering time under changing climate. Elevated CO2 mediated changes in tissue sugar status and a direct [CO2]-driven regulatory pathway involving a key flowering gene, MOTHER OF FT AND TFL1 (MFT), are emerging evidence for the role of e[CO2] in flowering time regulation.
Project description:We investigated the microRNA172 (miR172)-mediated regulatory network for the perception of changes in external and endogenous signals to identify a universally applicable floral regulation system in ornamental plants, manipulation of which could be economically beneficial. Transgenic gloxinia plants, in which miR172 was either overexpressed or suppressed, were generated using Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. They were used to study the effect of altering the expression of this miRNA on time of flowering and to identify its mRNA target. Early or late flowering was observed in transgenic plants in which miR172 was overexpressed or suppressed, respectively. A full-length complementary DNA (cDNA) of gloxinia (Sinningia speciosa) APETALA2-like (SsAP2-like) was identified as a target of miR172. The altered expression levels of miR172 caused up- or down-regulation of SsAP2-like during flower development, which affected the time of flowering. Quantitative real-time reverse transcription PCR analysis of different gloxinia tissues revealed that the accumulation of SsAP2-like was negatively correlated with the expression of miR172a, whereas the expression pattern of miR172a was negatively correlated with that of miR156a. Our results suggest that transgenic manipulation of miR172 could be used as a universal strategy for regulating time of flowering in ornamental plants.
Project description:A small mobile protein, encoded by the FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) locus, plays a central role in the control of flowering. FT is regulated positively by CONSTANS (CO), the output of the photoperiod pathway, and negatively by FLC, which integrates the effects of prolonged cold exposure. Here, we reveal the mechanisms of regulation by the microRNA miR172 target SCHLAFMUTZE (SMZ), a potent repressor of flowering. Whole-genome mapping of SMZ binding sites demonstrates not only direct regulation of FT, but also of many other flowering time regulators acting both upstream and downstream of FT, indicating an important role of miR172 and its targets in fine tuning the flowering response. A role for the miR172/SMZ module as a rheostat in flowering time is further supported by SMZ binding to several other genes encoding miR172 targets. Finally, we show that the action of SMZ is completely dependent on another floral repressor, FLM, providing the first direct connection between two important classes of flowering time regulators, AP2- and MADS-domain proteins.
Project description:FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) is a central integrator of environmental signals that regulates the timing of vegetative to reproductive transition in flowering plants. In model plants, these environmental signals have been shown to include photoperiod, vernalization, and ambient temperature pathways, and in crop species, the integration of the ambient temperature pathway remains less well understood. In hexaploid wheat, at least 5 FT-like genes have been identified, each with a copy on the A, B, and D genomes. Here, we report the characterization of FT-B1 through analysis of FT-B1 null and overexpression genotypes under different ambient temperature conditions. This analysis has identified that the FT-B1 alleles perform differently under diverse environmental conditions; most notably, the FT-B1 null produces an increase in spikelet and tiller number when grown at lower temperature conditions. Additionally, absence of FT-B1 facilitates more rapid germination under both light and dark conditions. These results provide an opportunity to understand the FT-dependent pathways that underpin key responses of wheat development to changes in ambient temperature. This is particularly important for wheat, for which development and grain productivity are sensitive to changes in temperature.
Project description:Seed germination and flowering, two critical developmental transitions in plant life cycles, are coordinately regulated by genetic and environmental factors to match plant establishment and reproduction to seasonal cues. The DELAY OF GERMINATION1 (DOG1) gene is involved in regulating seed dormancy in response to temperature and has also been associated genetically with pleiotropic flowering phenotypes across diverse Arabidopsis thaliana accessions and locations. Here we show that DOG1 can regulate seed dormancy and flowering times in lettuce (Lactuca sativa, Ls) and Arabidopsis through an influence on levels of microRNAs (miRNAs) miR156 and miR172. In lettuce, suppression of LsDOG1 expression enabled seed germination at high temperature and promoted early flowering in association with reduced miR156 and increased miR172 levels. In Arabidopsis, higher miR156 levels resulting from overexpression of the MIR156 gene enhanced seed dormancy and delayed flowering. These phenotypic effects, as well as conversion of MIR156 transcripts to miR156, were compromised in DOG1 loss-of-function mutant plants, especially in seeds. Overexpression of MIR172 reduced seed dormancy and promoted early flowering in Arabidopsis, and the effect on flowering required functional DOG1 Transcript levels of several genes associated with miRNA processing were consistently lower in dry seeds of Arabidopsis and lettuce when DOG1 was mutated or its expression was reduced; in contrast, transcript levels of these genes were elevated in a DOG1 gain-of-function mutant. Our results reveal a previously unknown linkage between two critical developmental phase transitions in the plant life cycle through a DOG1-miR156-miR172 interaction.
Project description:Day length and ambient temperature are major stimuli controlling flowering time. To understand flowering mechanisms in more natural conditions, we explored the effect of daily light and temperature changes on Arabidopsis thaliana. Seedlings were exposed to different day/night temperature and day-length treatments to assess expression changes in flowering genes. Cooler temperature treatments increased CONSTANS (CO) transcript levels at night. Night-time CO induction was diminished in flowering bhlh (fbh)-quadruple mutants. FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) transcript levels were reduced at dusk, but increased at the end of cooler nights. The dusk suppression, which was alleviated in short vegetative phase (svp) mutants, occurred particularly in younger seedlings, whereas the increase during the night continued over 2 wk. Cooler temperature treatments altered the levels of FLOWERING LOCUS M-? (FLM-?) and FLM-? splice variants. FT levels correlated strongly with flowering time across treatments. Day/night temperature changes modulate photoperiodic flowering by changing FT accumulation patterns. Cooler night-time temperatures enhance FLOWERING BHLH (FBH)-dependent induction of CO and consequently increase CO protein. When plants are young, cooler temperatures suppress FT at dusk through SHORT VEGETATIVE PHASE (SVP) function, perhaps to suppress precocious flowering. Our results suggest day length and diurnal temperature changes combine to modulate FT and flowering time.
Project description:Ambient growing temperature and photoperiod are major environmental stimuli that summer annual crops use to adjust their reproductive phenology so as to maximize yield. Variation in flowering time among soybean (Glycine max) cultivars results mainly from allelic diversity at loci that control photoperiod sensitivity and FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) orthologs. However, variation in the thermal regulation of flowering and its underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. In this study, we identified a novel mutant (ef1) that confers altered thermal regulation of flowering in response to cool ambient temperatures. Mapping analysis with simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers located the mutation in the upper part of chromosome 19, where no QTL for flowering has been previously reported. Fine-mapping and re-sequencing revealed that the mutation was caused by deletion of a 214 kbp genomic region that contains 11 annotated genes, including CONSTANS-LIKE 2b (COL2b), a soybean ortholog of Arabidopsis CONSTANS. Comparison of flowering times under different photo-thermal conditions revealed that early flowering in the mutant lines was most distinct under cool ambient temperatures. The expression of two FT orthologs, FT2a and FT5a, was dramatically downregulated by cool temperature, but the magnitude of the downregulation was lower in the mutant lines. Cool temperatures upregulated COL2b expression or delayed peak expression, particularly at the fourth trifoliate-leaf stage. Intriguingly, they also upregulated E1, a soybean-specific repressor of FT orthologs. Our results suggest that the ef1 mutation is involved in thermal regulation of flowering in response to cool ambient temperature, and the lack of COL2b in the mutant likely alleviates the repression of flowering by cool temperature. The ef1 mutant can be used as a novel gene resource in breeding soybean cultivars adapted to cool climate and in research to improve our understanding of thermal regulation of flowering in soybean.