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Symp Soc Exp Biol. 1998;51:97-103.

Methylation controls the low temperature induction of flowering in Arabidopsis.

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CSIRO Plant Industry, Canberra, Australia.


Control of the transition to flowering is critical for reproductive success of a plant. Studies in Arabidopsis have led us to suggest how this species has harnessed the environmental cue of a period of low temperature to ensure flowering occurs at an appropriate time. We propose that Arabidopsis has both vernalization-independent and vernalization-dependent pathways for the initiation of inflorescence development in the shoot apex. The vernalization-independent pathway may be concerned with the supply of carbohydrate to the shoot apex. In late flowering ecotypes which respond to vernalization the vernalization-independent pathway is blocked by the action of two dominant repressors of flowering, FRI and FLC, which interact to produce very late flowering plants which respond strongly to vernalization. We have isolated a gene which may correspond to FLC. We suggest the vernalization-dependent pathway, which may be concerned with apical GA biosynthesis, is blocked by methylation of a gene critical for flowering. This gene may correspond to that encoding kaurenoic acid hydroxylase (KAH), an enzyme catalysing a step in the GA biosynthetic pathway. Under this scheme vernalization causes unblocking of this pathway by demethylation possibly of the KAH gene and consequent biosynthesis of active GAs in the apex.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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