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Science. 2004 Feb 13;303(5660):1003-6.

Photoreceptor regulation of CONSTANS protein in photoperiodic flowering.

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  • 1Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding, Carl-von-Linne Weg 10, D-50829 Cologne, Germany.


Many plants flower in response to seasonal fluctuations in day length. The CONSTANS (CO) gene of Arabidopsis promotes flowering in long days. Flowering is induced when CO messenger RNA expression coincides with the exposure of plants to light. However, how this promotes CO activity is unknown. We show that light stabilizes nuclear CO protein in the evening, whereas in the morning or in darkness the protein is degraded by the proteasome. Photoreceptors regulate CO stability and act antagonistically to generate daily rhythms in CO abundance. This layer of regulation refines the circadian rhythm in CO messenger RNA and is central to the mechanism by which day length controls flowering.

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