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PLoS Genet. 2016 Mar 25;12(3):e1005959. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005959. eCollection 2016 Mar.

MicroProtein-Mediated Recruitment of CONSTANS into a TOPLESS Trimeric Complex Represses Flowering in Arabidopsis.

Graeff M1,2,3, Straub D1,2,3, Eguen T1,2,3, Dolde U1,2,3, Rodrigues V1,2,3, Brandt R4, Wenkel S1,2,3.

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Center for Plant Molecular Biology, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.
Copenhagen Plant Science Centre, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Department for Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research, Gatersleben, Germany.


MicroProteins are short, single domain proteins that act by sequestering larger, multi-domain proteins into non-functional complexes. MicroProteins have been identified in plants and animals, where they are mostly involved in the regulation of developmental processes. Here we show that two Arabidopsis thaliana microProteins, miP1a and miP1b, physically interact with CONSTANS (CO) a potent regulator of flowering time. The miP1a/b-type microProteins evolved in dicotyledonous plants and have an additional carboxy-terminal PF(V/L)FL motif. This motif enables miP1a/b microProteins to interact with TOPLESS/TOPLESS-RELATED (TPL/TPR) proteins. Interaction of CO with miP1a/b/TPL causes late flowering due to a failure in the induction of FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) expression under inductive long day conditions. Both miP1a and miP1b are expressed in vascular tissue, where CO and FT are active. Genetically, miP1a/b act upstream of CO thus our findings unravel a novel layer of flowering time regulation via microProtein-inhibition.

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