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J Exp Bot. 2011 May;62(8):2731-44. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erq450. Epub 2011 Feb 4.

Double loss-of-function mutation in EARLY FLOWERING 3 and CRYPTOCHROME 2 genes delays flowering under continuous light but accelerates it under long days and short days: an important role for Arabidopsis CRY2 to accelerate flowering time in continuous light.

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  • 1Gene Research Center, University of Tsukuba, Tennodai 1-1-1, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8572, Japan.


The photoperiodic response is one of the adaptation mechanisms to seasonal changes of lengths of day and night. The circadian clock plays pivotal roles in this process. In Arabidopsis, LHY, CCA1, ELF3, and other clock proteins play major roles in maintaining circadian rhythms. lhy;cca1 double mutants with severe defects in circadian rhythms showed accelerated flowering under short days (SDs), but delayed flowering under continuous light (LL). The protein level of the floral repressor SVP increased in lhy;cca1 mutants under LL, and the late-flowering phenotype of lhy;cca1 mutants was partially suppressed by svp, flc, or elf3. ELF3 interacted with both CCA1 and SVP, and elf3 suppressed the SVP accumulation in lhy;cca1 under LL. These results suggest that the unique mechanism of the inversion of the flowering response of lhy;cca1 under LL may involve both the ELF3-SVP/FLC-dependent and -independent pathways. In this work, elf3-1 seeds were mutagenized with heavy-ion beams and used to identify mutation(s) that delayed flowering under LL but not long days (LDs) or SDs even without ELF3. In this screening, seven candidate lines named suppressor of elf3 1 (self1), sel3, sel5, sel7, sel14, sel15, and sel20 were identified. Genetic analysis indicated that sel20 was a new deletion allele of a mutation in the blue light receptor, CRY2. A late-flowering phenotype and decrease of FT expression in the elf3;sel20 double mutant was obvious under LL but not under SDs or LDs. These results indicated that the late-flowering phenotype in the double mutant elf3;sel20 as well as in lhy;cca1 was affected by the presence of darkness. The results suggest that CRY2 may play more essential roles in the acceleration of flowering under LL than LDs or SDs.

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