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Development. 2005 Dec;132(24):5471-8. Epub 2005 Nov 16.

FRIGIDA-ESSENTIAL 1 interacts genetically with FRIGIDA and FRIGIDA-LIKE 1 to promote the winter-annual habit of Arabidopsis thaliana.

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Laboratory of Genetics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


Studies of natural variation have revealed that the winter-annual habit of many accessions of Arabidopsis is conferred by two genes, FRIGIDA (FRI) and FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC), whose activities impose a vernalization requirement. To better understand the mechanism underlying the winter-annual habit, a genetic screen was performed to identify mutants that suppress the late-flowering behavior of a non-vernalized winter-annual strain. We have identified a locus, FRIGIDA-ESSENTIAL 1 (FES1), which, like FRI, is specifically required for the upregulation of FLC expression. FES1 is predicted to encode a protein with a CCCH zinc finger, but the predicted sequence does not otherwise share significant similarity with other known proteins. fes1 is a complete suppressor of FRI-mediated delayed flowering, but has little effect on the late-flowering phenotype of autonomous-pathway mutants. Thus, FES1 activity is required for the FRI-mediated winter-annual habit, but not for the similar phenotype resulting from autonomous-pathway mutations. Epistasis analysis between FES1, FRI and another specific suppressor of FRI-containing lines, FRIGIDA-LIKE 1 (FRL1), indicates that these genes do not function in a linear pathway, but instead act cooperatively to promote the expression of FLC.

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