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Nature. 2011 Sep 25;478(7367):119-22. doi: 10.1038/nature10431.

Control of flowering and storage organ formation in potato by FLOWERING LOCUS T.

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Departamento de Genética Molecular de Plantas, Centro Nacional de Biotecnología-CSIC, Calle Darwin 3, 28049 Madrid, Spain.


Seasonal fluctuations in day length regulate important aspects of plant development such as the flowering transition or, in potato (Solanum tuberosum), the formation of tubers. Day length is sensed by the leaves, which produce a mobile signal transported to the shoot apex or underground stems to induce a flowering transition or, respectively, a tuberization transition. Work in Arabidopsis, tomato and rice (Oryza sativa) identified the mobile FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) protein as a main component of the long-range 'florigen', or flowering hormone, signal. Here we show that expression of the Hd3a gene, the FT orthologue in rice, induces strict short-day potato types to tuberize in long days. Tuber induction is graft transmissible and the Hd3a-GFP protein is detected in the stolons of grafted plants, transport of the fusion protein thus correlating with tuber formation. We provide evidence showing that the potato floral and tuberization transitions are controlled by two different FT-like paralogues (StSP3D and StSP6A) that respond to independent environmental cues, and show that an autorelay mechanism involving CONSTANS modulates expression of the tuberization-control StSP6A gene.

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