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Plant Physiol. 2004 Aug;135(4):2271-8. Epub 2004 Aug 6.

Graft transmission of a floral stimulant derived from CONSTANS.

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Department of Plant Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


Photoperiod in plants is perceived by leaves and in many species influences the transition to reproductive growth through long-distance signaling. CONSTANS (CO) is implicated as a mediator between photoperiod perception and the transition to flowering in Arabidopsis. To test the role of CO in long-distance signaling, CO was expressed from a promoter specific to the companion cells of the smallest veins of mature leaves. This expression in tissues at the inception of the phloem translocation stream was sufficient to accelerate flowering at the apical meristem under noninductive (short-day) conditions. Grafts that conjoined the vegetative stems of plants with different flower-timing phenotypes demonstrated that minor-vein expression of CO is able to substitute for photoperiod in generating a mobile flowering signal. Our results suggest that a CO-derived signal(s), or possibly CO itself, fits the definition of the hypothetical flowering stimulant, florigen.

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