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Annu Rev Plant Biol. 2005;56:491-508.

Remembering winter: toward a molecular understanding of vernalization.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.


Exposure to the prolonged cold of winter is an important environmental cue that favors flowering in the spring in many types of plants. The process by which exposure to cold promotes flowering is known as vernalization. In Arabidopsis and certain cereals, the block to flowering in plants that have not been vernalized is due to the expression of flowering repressors. The promotion of flowering is due to the cold-mediated suppression of these repressors. Recent work has demonstrated that covalent modifications of histones in the chromatin of target loci are part of the molecular mechanism by which certain repressors are silenced during vernalization.

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