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Curr Biol. 2011 May 10;21(9):R374-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2011.03.038.

FT, a mobile developmental signal in plants.

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John Innes Centre, Colney Lane, Norwich NR4 7UH, UK.


Plants synchronise their flowering with the seasons to maximise reproductive fitness. While plants sense environmental conditions largely through the leaves, the developmental decision to flower occurs in the shoot apex, requiring the transmission of flowering information, sometimes over quite long distances. Interestingly, despite the enormous diversity of reproductive strategies and lifestyles of higher plants, a key component of this mobile flowering signal, or florigen, is contributed by a highly conserved gene: FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT). The FT gene encodes a small globular protein that is able to translocate from the leaves to the shoot apex through the phloem. Plants have evolved a variety of regulatory networks that control FT expression in response to diverse environmental signals, enabling flowering and other developmental responses to be seasonally timed. As well as playing a key role in flowering, recent discoveries indicate FT is also involved in other developmental processes in the plant, including dormancy and bud burst.

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