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Nat Commun. 2019 Sep 5;10(1):4005. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-11882-7.

PIF transcription factors link a neighbor threat cue to accelerated reproduction in Arabidopsis.

Author information

1
Center for Integrative Genomics, Faculty of Biology and Medicine, University of Lausanne, 1015, Lausanne, Switzerland.
2
Genomics Unit and Plant Molecular Biology Department, Centro Nacional de Biotecnologia (CSIC), Campus de Cantoblanco, Darwin 3, 28049, Madrid, Spain.
3
Syngene International Ltd, Bangalore, 560 099, India.
4
SIB Swiss Institute for Bioinformatics, University of Lausanne, 1015, Lausanne, Switzerland.
5
Center for Integrative Genomics, Faculty of Biology and Medicine, University of Lausanne, 1015, Lausanne, Switzerland. christian.fankhauser@unil.ch.

Abstract

Changes in light quality indicative of competition for this essential resource influence plant growth and developmental transitions; however, little is known about neighbor proximity-induced acceleration of reproduction. Phytochrome B (phyB) senses light cues from plant competitors, ultimately leading to the expression of the floral inducers FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) and TWIN SISTER of FT (TSF). Here we show that PHYTOCHROME INTERACTING FACTORs 4, 5 and 7 (PIF4, PIF5 and PIF7) mediate neighbor proximity-induced flowering, with PIF7 playing a prominent role. These transcriptional regulators act directly downstream of phyB to promote expression of FT and TSF. Neighbor proximity enhances PIF accumulation towards the end of the day, coinciding with enhanced floral inducer expression. We present evidence supporting direct PIF-regulated TSF expression. The relevance of our findings is illustrated by the prior identification of FT, TSF and PIF4 as loci underlying flowering time regulation in natural conditions.

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