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J Biol Chem. 2012 Dec 21;287(52):43277-87. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.394338. Epub 2012 Nov 7.

The E3 ubiquitin ligase HOS1 regulates Arabidopsis flowering by mediating CONSTANS degradation under cold stress.

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Department of Chemistry, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Korea.


The timing of flowering is coordinated by a web of gene regulatory networks that integrates developmental and environmental cues in plants. Light and temperature are two major environmental determinants that regulate flowering time. Although prolonged treatment with low nonfreezing temperatures accelerates flowering by stable repression of FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC), repeated brief cold treatments delay flowering. Here, we report that intermittent cold treatments trigger the degradation of CONSTANS (CO), a central activator of photoperiodic flowering; daily treatments caused suppression of the floral integrator FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) and delayed flowering. Cold-induced CO degradation is mediated via a ubiquitin/proteasome pathway that involves the E3 ubiquitin ligase HIGH EXPRESSION OF OSMOTICALLY RESPONSIVE GENE 1 (HOS1). HOS1-mediated CO degradation occurs independently of the well established cold response pathways. It is also independent of the light signaling repressor CONSTITUTIVE PHOTOMORPHOGENIC 1 (COP1) E3 ligase and light wavelengths. CO has been shown to play a key role in photoperiodic flowering. Here, we demonstrated that CO served as a molecular hub, integrating photoperiodic and cold stress signals into the flowering genetic pathways. We propose that the HOS1-CO module contributes to the fine-tuning of photoperiodic flowering under short term temperature fluctuations, which often occur during local weather disturbances.

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