Cool night-time temperatures induce the expression of CONSTANS and FLOWERING LOCUS T to regulate flowering in Arabidopsis.
ABSTRACT: 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:Plants enter their reproductive phase when the environmental conditions are favourable for the successful production of progeny. The transition from vegetative to reproductive phase is influenced by several environmental factors including ambient temperature. In the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, SHORT VEGETATIVE PHASE (SVP) is critical for this pathway; svp mutants cannot modify their flowering time in response to ambient temperature. SVP encodes a MADS-box transcription factor that directly represses genes that promote flowering. SVP binds DNA in complexes with other MADS-box transcription factors, including FLOWERING LOCUS M (FLM), which acts with SVP to repress the floral transition at low temperatures. Small temperature changes post-transcriptionally regulate FLM through temperature-dependent alternative splicing (TD-AS). As ambient temperature increases, the predominant FLM splice isoform shifts to encode a protein incapable of exerting a repressive effect on flowering. Here we characterize a closely related MADS-box transcription factor, MADS AFFECTING FLOWERING2 (MAF2), which has independently evolved TD-AS. At low temperatures the most abundant MAF2 splice variant encodes a protein that interacts with SVP to repress flowering. At increased temperature the relative abundance of splice isoforms shifts in favour of an intron-retaining variant that introduces a premature termination codon. We show that this isoform encodes a protein that cannot interact with SVP or repress flowering. At lower temperatures MAF2 and SVP repress flowering in parallel with FLM and SVP, providing an additional input to sense ambient temperature for the control of flowering.
Project description:How plants control the transition to flowering in response to ambient temperature is only beginning to be understood. In Arabidopsis thaliana, the MADS-box transcription factor genes FLOWERING LOCUS M (FLM) and SHORT VEGETATIVE PHASE (SVP) have key roles in this process. FLM is subject to temperature-dependent alternative splicing, producing two splice variants, FLM-β and FLM-δ, which compete for interaction with the floral repressor SVP. The SVP/FLM-β complex is predominately formed at low temperatures and prevents precocious flowering. In contrast, the competing SVP FLM-δ complex is impaired in DNA binding and acts as a dominant negative activator of flowering at higher temperatures. Our results demonstrate the importance of temperature-dependent alternative splicing in modulating the timing of the floral transition in response to environmental change. ChIP-seq A. thaliana FLM (3 replicates for gFLM and 2 replicates for FLM splice variants)
Project description:Plants perceive environmental signals such as day length and temperature to determine optimal timing for the transition from vegetative to floral stages. Arabidopsis flowers under long-day conditions through the CONSTANS (CO)-FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) regulatory module. It is thought that the environmental cues for photoperiodic control of flowering are initially perceived in the leaves. We have previously shown that GIGANTEA (GI) regulates the timing of CO expression, together with FLAVIN-BINDING, KELCH REPEAT, F BOX protein 1. Normally, CO and FT are expressed exclusively in vascular bundles, whereas GI is expressed in various tissues. To better elucidate the role of tissue-specific expression of GI in the flowering pathway, we established transgenic lines in which GI is expressed exclusively in mesophyll, vascular bundles, epidermis, shoot apical meristem, or root. We found that GI expressed in either mesophyll or vascular bundles rescues the late-flowering phenotype of the gi-2 loss-of-function mutant under both short-day and long-day conditions. Interestingly, GI expressed in mesophyll or vascular tissues increases FT expression without up-regulating CO expression under short-day conditions. Furthermore, we examined the interaction between GI and FT repressors in mesophyll. We found that GI can bind to three FT repressors: SHORT VEGETATIVE PHASE (SVP), TEMPRANILLO (TEM)1, and TEM2. Finally, our chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments showed that GI binds to FT promoter regions that are near the SVP binding sites. Taken together, our data further elucidate the multiple roles of GI in the regulation of flowering time.
Project description:Plants integrate seasonal cues such as temperature and day length to optimally adjust their flowering time to the environment. Compared to the control of flowering before and after winter by the vernalization and day length pathways, mechanisms that delay or promote flowering during a transient cool or warm period, especially during spring, are less well understood. Due to global warming, understanding this ambient temperature pathway has gained increasing importance. In Arabidopsis thaliana, FLOWERING LOCUS M (FLM) is a critical flowering regulator of the ambient temperature pathway. FLM is alternatively spliced in a temperature-dependent manner and the two predominant splice variants, FLM-ß and FLM-?, can repress and activate flowering in the genetic background of the A. thaliana reference accession Columbia-0. The relevance of this regulatory mechanism for the environmental adaptation across the entire range of the species is, however, unknown. Here, we identify insertion polymorphisms in the first intron of FLM as causative for accelerated flowering in many natural A. thaliana accessions, especially in cool (15°C) temperatures. We present evidence for a potential adaptive role of this structural variation and link it specifically to changes in the abundance of FLM-ß. Our results may allow predicting flowering in response to ambient temperatures in the Brassicaceae.
Project description:The developmental transition from a vegetative to a reproductive phase (i.e., flowering) is timed by the seasonal cue day length or photoperiod in many plant species. Through the photoperiod pathway, inductive day lengths trigger the production of a systemic flowering signal, florigen, to provoke the floral transition. FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT), widely conserved in angiosperms, is a major component of the mobile florigen. In the long-day plant Arabidopsis, FT expression is rhythmically activated by the output of the photoperiod pathway CONSTANS (CO), specifically at the end of long days. How FT expression is modulated at an adequate level in response to the long-day cue to set a proper flowering time remains unknown. Here, we report a periodic histone deacetylation mechanism for the photoperiodic modulation of FT expression. We have identified a plant-unique core structural component of an Arabidopsis histone deacetylase (HDAC) complex. In long days, this component accumulates at dusk, and is recruited by a MADS-domain transcription factor to the FT locus specifically at the end of the day, leading to periodic histone deacetylation of FT chromatin at dusk. Furthermore, we found that at the end of long days CO activity not only activates FT expression but also enables HDAC-activity recruitment to FT chromatin to dampen the level of FT expression, and so prevent precocious flowering in response to the inductive long-day cue. These results collectively reveal a periodic histone deacetylation mechanism for the day-length control of flowering time in higher plants.
Project description:The circadian clock is synchronized by the day-night cycle to allow plants to anticipate daily environmental changes and to recognize annual changes in day length enabling seasonal flowering. This clock system has been extensively studied in Arabidopsis thaliana and was found to be reset by the dark to light transition at dawn. By contrast, studies on photoperiodic flowering of Pharbitis nil revealed the presence of a clock system reset by the transition from light to dark at dusk to measure the duration of the night. However, a Pharbitis photosynthetic gene was also shown to be insensitive to this dusk transition and to be set by dawn. Thus Pharbitis appeared to have two clock systems, one set by dusk that controls photoperiodic flowering and a second controlling photosynthetic gene expression similar to that of Arabidopsis. Here, we show that circadian mRNA expression of Pharbitis homologs of a series of Arabidopsis clock or clock-controlled genes are insensitive to the dusk transition. These data further define the presence in Pharbitis of a clock system that is analogous to the Arabidopsis system, which co-exists and functions with the dusk-set system dedicated to the control of photoperiodic flowering.
Project description:Photoperiodic floral induction has had a significant impact on the agricultural and horticultural industries. Changes in day length are perceived in leaves, which synthesize systemic flowering inducers (florigens) and inhibitors (antiflorigens) that determine floral initiation at the shoot apex. Recently, FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) was found to be a florigen; however, the identity of the corresponding antiflorigen remains to be elucidated. Here, we report the identification of an antiflorigen gene, Anti-florigenic FT/TFL1 family protein (AFT), from a wild chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum seticuspe) whose expression is mainly induced in leaves under noninductive conditions. Gain- and loss-of-function analyses demonstrated that CsAFT acts systemically to inhibit flowering and plays a predominant role in the obligate photoperiodic response. A transient gene expression assay indicated that CsAFT inhibits flowering by directly antagonizing the flower-inductive activity of CsFTL3, a C. seticuspe ortholog of FT, through interaction with CsFDL1, a basic leucine zipper (bZIP) transcription factor FD homolog of Arabidopsis. Induction of CsAFT was triggered by the coincidence of phytochrome signals with the photosensitive phase set by the dusk signal; flowering occurred only when night length exceeded the photosensitive phase for CsAFT induction. Thus, the gated antiflorigen production system, a phytochrome-mediated response to light, determines obligate photoperiodic flowering response in chrysanthemums, which enables their year-round commercial production by artificial lighting.
Project description:Age-related resistance (ARR) is a plant defense response characterized by enhanced resistance to certain pathogens in mature plants relative to young plants. In Arabidopsis thaliana the transition to flowering is associated with ARR competence, suggesting that this developmental event is the switch that initiates ARR competence in mature plants (Rusterucci et al. in Physiol Mol Plant Pathol 66:222-231, 2005). The association of ARR and the floral transition was examined using flowering-time mutants and photoperiod-induced flowering to separate flowering from other developmental events that occur as plants age. Under short-day conditions, late-flowering plant lines ld-1 (luminidependens-1), soc1-2 (suppressor of overexpression of co 1-2), and FRI (+) (FRIGIDA) displayed ARR before the transition to flowering occurred. Early-flowering svp-31, svp-32 (short vegetative phase), and Ws-2 were ARR-defective, whereas early-flowering tfl1-14 (terminal flower 1-14) displayed ARR at the same time as Col-0. While svp-31, svp-32 and Ws-2 produced few rosette leaves, tfl1-14 produced a rosette leaf number similar to Col-0, suggesting that the development of a minimum number of rosette leaves is necessary to initiate ARR competence under short-day conditions. Photoperiod-induced transient expression of FT (FLOWERING LOCUS T) caused precocious flowering in short-day-grown Col-0 but this was not associated with ARR competence. Under long-day conditions co-9 (constans-9) mutants did not flower but displayed an ARR response at the same time as Col-0. This study suggests that SVP is required for the ARR response and that the floral transition is not the developmental event that regulates ARR competence.
Project description:The ability to sense environmental temperature and to coordinate growth and development accordingly, is critical to the reproductive success of plants. Flowering time is regulated at the level of gene expression by a complex network of factors that integrate environmental and developmental cues. One of the main players, involved in modulating flowering time in response to changes in ambient temperature is FLOWERING LOCUS M (FLM). FLM transcripts can undergo extensive alternative splicing producing multiple variants, of which FLM-? and FLM-? are the most representative. While FLM-? codes for the flowering repressor FLM protein, translation of FLM-? has the opposite effect on flowering. Here we show that the cyclin-dependent kinase G2 (CDKG2), together with its cognate cyclin, CYCLYN L1 (CYCL1) affects the alternative splicing of FLM, balancing the levels of FLM-? and FLM-? across the ambient temperature range. In the absence of the CDKG2/CYCL1 complex, FLM-? expression is reduced while FLM-? is increased in a temperature dependent manner and these changes are associated with an early flowering phenotype in the cdkg2 mutant lines. In addition, we found that transcript variants retaining the full FLM intron 1 are sequestered in the cell nucleus. Strikingly, FLM intron 1 splicing is also regulated by CDKG2/CYCL1. Our results provide evidence that temperature and CDKs regulate the alternative splicing of FLM, contributing to flowering time definition.
Project description:FLOWERING LOCUS M (FLM), a component of the thermosensory flowering time pathway in Arabidopsis thaliana, is regulated by temperature-dependent alternative splicing (AS). The main splicing variant, FLM-?, is a well-documented floral repressor that is down-regulated in response to increasing ambient growth temperature. Two hypotheses have been formulated to explain how flowering time is modulated by AS of FLM. In the first model a second splice variant, FLM-?, acts as a dominant negative isoform that competes with FLM-? at elevated ambient temperatures, thereby indirectly promoting flowering. Alternatively, it has been suggested that the induction of flowering at elevated temperatures is caused only by reduced FLM-? expression. To better understand the role of the two FLM splice forms, we employed CRISPR/Cas9 technology to specifically delete the exons that characterize each splice variant. Lines that produced repressive FLM-? but were incapable of producing FLM-? were late flowering. In contrast, FLM-? knockout lines that still produced FLM-? flowered early, but not earlier than the flm-3 loss of function mutant, as would be expected if FLM-? had a dominant-negative effect on flowering. Our data support the role of FLM-? as a flower repressor and provide evidence that a contribution of FLM-? to the regulation of flowering time in wild-type A. thaliana seems unlikely.