Plant biology: The other garden path

    Article metrics

    Cell 138, 673–684 (2009)

    There is more than one way to flower. In the thale cress, Arabidopsis thaliana, the well characterized FT gene encodes a pro-flowering protein that travels from leaf to shoot in response to changes in day length.

    Now, Detlef Weigel and his colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, Germany, show that another pathway regulated by microRNAs — molecules that prevent translation of messenger RNAs into proteins — can stimulate flowering independently of daylight cues.

    They find that levels of microRNA-156 decline as the plant ages, parallelling a rise in expression of the genes it seems to silence. The products of these genes, called SPLs, set off floral development.

    Rights and permissions

    Reprints and Permissions

    About this article

    Cite this article

    Plant biology: The other garden path. Nature 460, 1061 (2009) doi:10.1038/4601061c

    Download citation


    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.