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Mol Plant. 2012 May;5(3):678-87. doi: 10.1093/mp/sss005. Epub 2012 Feb 10.

GIGANTEA and EARLY FLOWERING 4 in Arabidopsis exhibit differential phase-specific genetic influences over a diurnal cycle.

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Division of Molecular and Life Sciences, POSTECH, Hyojadong, Pohang, Kyungbuk, 790-784, Republic of Korea.


The endogenous circadian clock regulates many physiological processes related to plant survival and adaptability. GIGANTEA (GI), a clock-associated protein, contributes to the maintenance of circadian period length and amplitude, and also regulates flowering time and hypocotyl growth in response to day length. Similarly, EARLY FLOWERING 4 (ELF4), another clock regulator, also contributes to these processes. However, little is known about either the genetic or molecular interactions between GI and ELF4 in Arabidopsis. In this study, we investigated the genetic interactions between GI and ELF4 in the regulation of circadian clock-controlled outputs. Our mutant analysis shows that GI is epistatic to ELF4 in flowering time determination, while ELF4 is epistatic to GI in hypocotyl growth regulation. Moreover, GI and ELF4 have a synergistic or additive effect on endogenous clock regulation. Gene expression profiling of gi, elf4, and gi elf4 mutants further established that GI and ELF4 have differentially dominant influences on circadian physiological outputs at dusk and dawn, respectively. This phasing of GI and ELF4 influences provides a potential means to achieve diversity in the regulation of circadian physiological outputs, including flowering time and hypocotyl growth.

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