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Curr Biol. 2008 Sep 9;18(17):1338-43. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2008.07.075. Epub 2008 Aug 21.

The balance between CONSTANS and TEMPRANILLO activities determines FT expression to trigger flowering.

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Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics, CSIC-IRTA-UAB, Jordi Girona 18, 08034 Barcelona, Spain.


Seasonal changes in day length influence flowering time in many plant species. In Arabidopsis, flowering is accelerated by exposure to long day (LD). Those inductive photoperiods are perceived in leaves [1] and initiate a long-distance signaling mediated by CO and FT. CO is expressed in the phloem according to a circadian rhythm [2-4]. Only under LD does CO induce FT expression as high levels of CO in the evening coincide with the external light that stabilizes CO protein [4, 5]. Subsequently, FT protein travels through the phloem to the shoot apex where, together with FD, it initiates flowering [6-12]. Despite the photoperiodic induction, a mechanism of floral repression is needed to avoid precocious flowering. We show that TEMPRANILLO genes (TEM1 and TEM2) act as novel direct FT repressors. Molecular and genetic analyses suggest that a quantitative balance between the activator CO and the repressor TEM determines FT levels. Moreover, developmental TEM downregulation marks the timing of flowering, as it shifts the CO/TEM balance in favor of CO activity, allowing FT transcript to reach the threshold level required to trigger flowering. We envision that this might be a general mechanism between long-day plants to ensure a tight regulation of flowering time.

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