Acceleration of flowering in Arabidopsis thaliana by Cape Verde Islands alleles of FLOWERING H is dependent on the floral promoter FD

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Abstract

Flowering time in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana is regulated by both external environmental signals and internal developmental pathways. Natural variation at the FLOWERING H (FLH) locus has previously been described, with alleles present in the Cape Verde Islands accession causing early flowering, particularly after vernalization. The mechanism of FLH-induced early flowering is not understood. Here, the integration of FLH activity into the known flowering time pathways is described using molecular and genetic approaches. The identification of molecular markers that co-segregated with the FLH locus allowed the generation of multiple combinations of FLH alleles with mutations in flowering time genes in different flowering pathways. Combining an early flowering FLH allele with mutations in vernalization pathway genes that regulate FLC expression revealed that FLH appears to act in parallel to FLC. Surprisingly, the early flowering allele of FLH requires the floral integrator FD, but not FT, to accelerate flowering. This suggests a model in which some alleles of FLH are able to affect the FD-dependent activity of the floral activator complex.

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