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Plant Biotechnol J. 2003 Sep;1(5):361-9.

Reciprocal control of flowering time by OsSOC1 in transgenic Arabidopsis and by FLC in transgenic rice.

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CSIRO Plant Industry, GPO Box 1600, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.


In a screen for MADS box genes which activate and/or repress flowering in rice, we identified a gene encoding a MADS domain protein (OsSOC1) related to the Arabidopsis gene AtSOC1. AtSOC1 and OsSOC1 show a 97% amino acid similarity in their MADS domain. The rice gene contains a large first intron of 27.6 kb compared to the 1 kb intron in Arabidopsis. OsSOC1 is located on top of the short arm of chromosome 3, tightly linked to the heading date locus, Hd9. OsSOC1 is expressed in vegetative tissues, and expression is elevated at the time of floral initiation, 40-50 days after sowing, and remains uniformly high thereafter, similar to the expression pattern of AtSOC1. The constitutive expression of OsSOC1 in Arabidopsis results in early flowering, suggesting that the rice gene is a functional equivalent of AtSOC1. We were not able to identify FLC-like sequences in the rice genome; however, we show that ectopic expression of the Arabidopsis FLC delays flowering in rice, and the up-regulation of OsSOC1 at the onset of flowering initiation is delayed in the AtFLC transgenic lines. The reciprocal recognition and flowering time effects of genes introduced into either Arabidopsis or rice suggest that some components of the flowering pathways may be shared. This points to a potential application in the manipulation of flowering time in cereals using well characterized Arabidopsis genes.

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