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Plant Cell. 2008 Feb;20(2):292-306. doi: 10.1105/tpc.107.057281. Epub 2008 Feb 22.

COP1-mediated ubiquitination of CONSTANS is implicated in cryptochrome regulation of flowering in Arabidopsis.

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  • 1National Key Laboratory of Plant Molecular Genetics, Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200032, China.


In Arabidopsis thaliana, the blue light photoreceptor cryptochromes (CRY) act to promote photomorphogenic development and the transition from vegetative to floral development in long days (LDs). We previously proposed that one of the mechanisms by which CRY regulates light responses is via its physical interaction with COP1, a RING motif-containing E3 ligase. Under LDs, the transcription of FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) is activated by CONSTANS (CO) in leaf, and the FT protein moves to the shoot apex to induce flowering. CO protein is degraded in darkness, whereas it is stabilized by the CRY-mediated signal. However, the mechanism underlying this process is unknown. We show in this report that CO acts genetically downstream of COP1 and CRY to regulate flowering time. In addition, COP1 physically interacts with CO and functions as an E3 ligase, ubiquitinating CO in vitro and reducing CO levels in vivo. These results suggest that COP1 acts as a repressor of flowering by promoting the ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis of CO in darkness and that CRY-mediated signal may negatively regulate COP1, thereby stabilizing CO, activating FT transcription, and inducing flowering.

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