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New Phytol. 2019 Feb;221(3):1328-1344. doi: 10.1111/nph.15492. Epub 2018 Oct 19.

Tomato floral induction and flower development are orchestrated by the interplay between gibberellin and two unrelated microRNA-controlled modules.

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Laboratory of Molecular Genetics of Plant Development, Escola Superior de Agricultura 'Luiz de Queiroz' (ESALQ), University of Sao Paulo, 13418-900, Piracicaba, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Laboratory of Hormonal Control of Plant Development, Escola Superior de Agricultura 'Luiz de Queiroz' (ESALQ), University of Sao Paulo (USP), 13418-900, Piracicaba, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, 48824, USA.
Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular de Plantas, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (UPV)-Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Ingeniero Fausto Elío s/n, 46022, Valencia, Spain.


Age-regulated microRNA156 (miR156) and targets similarly control the competence to flower in diverse species. By contrast, the diterpene hormone gibberellin (GA) and the microRNA319-regulated TEOSINTE BRANCHED/CYCLOIDEA/PCF (TCP) transcription factors promote flowering in the facultative long-day Arabidopsis thaliana, but suppress it in the day-neutral tomato (Solanum lycopersicum). We combined genetic and molecular studies and described a new interplay between GA and two unrelated miRNA-associated pathways that modulates tomato transition to flowering. Tomato PROCERA/DELLA activity is required to promote flowering along with the miR156-targeted SQUAMOSA PROMOTER BINDING-LIKE (SPL/SBP) transcription factors by activating SINGLE FLOWER TRUSS (SFT) in the leaves and the MADS-Box gene APETALA1(AP1)/MC at the shoot apex. Conversely, miR319-targeted LANCEOLATE represses floral transition by increasing GA concentrations and inactivating SFT in the leaves and AP1/MC at the shoot apex. Importantly, the combination of high GA concentrations/responses with the loss of SPL/SPB function impaired canonical meristem maturation and flower initiation in tomato. Our results reveal a cooperative regulation of tomato floral induction and flower development, integrating age cues (miR156 module) with GA responses and miR319-controlled pathways. Importantly, this study contributes to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the effects of GA in controlling flowering time in a day-neutral species.


LANCEOLATE ; Solanum lycopersicum ; flowering time; gibberellin (GA); miR156; miR319


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