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Mol Cells. 2011 Jul;32(1):83-8. doi: 10.1007/s10059-011-1043-1. Epub 2011 Apr 20.

The role of the miR399-PHO2 module in the regulation of flowering time in response to different ambient temperatures in Arabidopsis thaliana.

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Creative Research Initiatives, School of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Korea University, Seoul, 136-701, Korea.


A moderate change in ambient temperature significantly affects plant physiology including flowering time. MiR399 and its target gene PHOSPHATE 2 (PHO2) are known to play a role in the maintenance of phosphate homeostasis. However, the regulation of flowering time by the miR399-PHO2 module has not been investigated. As we have previously identified miR399 as an ambient temperature-responsive miRNA, we further investigated whether a change in expression of the miR399-PHO2 module affects flowering time in response to ambient temperature changes. Here, we showed that miR399b-overexpressing plants and a loss-of-function allele of PHO2 (pho2) exhibited an early flowering phenotype only at normal temperature (23°C). Interestingly, their flowering time at lower temperature (16°C) was similar to that of wild-type plants, suggesting that alteration in flowering time by miR399 and its target PHO2 was seen only at normal temperature (23°C). Flowering time ratio (16°C/23°C) revealed that miR399b-overexpressing plants and pho2 mutants showed increased sensitivity to ambient temperature changes. Expression analysis indicated that expression of TWIN SISTER OF FT (TSF) was increased in miR399b-overexpressing plants and pho2 mutants at 23°C, suggesting that their early flowering phenotype is associated with TSF upregulation. Taken together, our results suggest that miR399, an ambient temperature-responsive miRNA, plays a role in ambient temperature-responsive flowering in Arabidopsis.

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