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Plant Physiol. 2008 Nov;148(3):1425-35. doi: 10.1104/pp.108.125542. Epub 2008 Sep 12.

Ehd2, a rice ortholog of the maize INDETERMINATE1 gene, promotes flowering by up-regulating Ehd1.

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National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8602, Japan.


Recent research into the flowering of rice (Oryza sativa) has revealed both unique and conserved genetic pathways in the photoperiodic control of flowering compared with those in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). We discovered an early heading date2 (ehd2) mutant that shows extremely late flowering under both short- and long-day conditions in line with a background deficient in Heading date1 (Hd1), a rice CONSTANS ortholog that belongs to the conserved pathway. This phenotype in the ehd2 mutants suggests that Ehd2 is pivotal for the floral transition in rice. Map-based cloning revealed that Ehd2 encodes a putative transcription factor with zinc finger motifs orthologous to the INDETERMINATE1 (ID1) gene, which promotes flowering in maize (Zea mays). Ehd2 mRNA in rice tissues accumulated most abundantly in developing leaves, but was present at very low levels around the shoot apex and in roots, patterns that are similar to those of ID1. To assign the position of Ehd2 within the flowering pathway of rice, we compared transcript levels of previously isolated flowering-time genes, such as Ehd1, a member of the unique pathway, Hd3a, and Rice FT-like1 (RFT1; rice florigens), between the wild-type plants and the ehd2 mutants. Severely reduced expression of these genes in ehd2 under both short- and long-day conditions suggests that Ehd2 acts as a flowering promoter mainly by up-regulating Ehd1 and by up-regulating the downstream Hd3a and RFT1 genes in the unique genetic network of photoperiodic flowering in rice.

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