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Plant J. 1999 Dec;20(5):581-90.

Sucrose availability on the aerial part of the plant promotes morphogenesis and flowering of Arabidopsis in the dark.

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Departamento de Mejora Genética y Biotecnología, Subdirección General de Investigación y Tecnologia, Instituto National de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria, Ctra de la Coruña km 7, 28040 Madrid, Spain.


Conditions to promote dark morphogenesis and flower-ing in Arabidopsis have previously been limited to liquid cultures and to a few laboratory ecotypes. We have obtained development and flowering of Arabidopsis plants under complete darkness by growing them on vertical Petri dishes containing solid agar medium with sucrose. Under these conditions, all the ecotypes tested were able to develop, giving rise to etiolated plants that flowered after producing a certain number of leaves. Dark-grown plants showed similarities with phytochrome-deficient mutants and were different from de-etiolated or constitutive photomorphogenesis mutants such as det and cop. Late- and early-flowering ecotypes, showing large differences in flowering time and leaf number under long days, flowered with a similar number of leaves when grown in the dark. Rapid dark flowering of late-flowering ecotypes was not an effect of darkness but the result of the interaction between dark and sucrose availability at the aerial part of the plant, since sucrose also had an effect when plants were grown in the light. Gibberellin-deficient and insensitive mutants were delayed in the initiation of flowers in the dark, indicating a role for these hormones in flowering promotion in the dark. The late-flowering phenotype of mutants at different loci of the autonomous and long-day-dependent flowering induction pathways was rescued in dark growth conditions. However, the late-flowering phenotype of ft and fwa mutants was not rescued by sucrose either in the dark or in the light, suggesting a different role for these genes in flowering induction.

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