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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Mar 28;97(7):3753-8.

The molecular basis of vernalization: the central role of FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC).

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Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Division of Plant Industry, G.P.O. Box 1600, Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia.


In Arabidopsis, the MADS-box protein encoded by FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC) is a repressor of flowering. Vernalization, which promotes flowering in the late-flowering ecotypes and many late-flowering mutants, decreases the level of FLC transcript and protein in the plant. This vernalization-induced reduction in FLC transcript levels is mitotically stable and occurs in all tissues. FLC activity is restored in each generation, as is the requirement of a low-temperature exposure for the promotion of flowering. The level of FLC determines the extent of the vernalization response in the promotion of flowering, and there is a quantitative relationship between the duration of cold treatment and the extent of down-regulation of FLC activity. We conclude that FLC is the central regulator of the induction of flowering by vernalization. Other vernalization-responsive late-flowering mutants, which are disrupted in genes that encode regulators of FLC, are late-flowering as a consequence of their elevated levels of FLC.

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