Adaptation of photoperiodic control pathways produces short-day flowering in rice


The photoperiodic control of flowering is one of the important developmental processes of plants because it is directly related to successful reproduction1. Although the molecular genetic analysis of Arabidopsis thaliana, a long-day (LD) plant, has provided models to explain the control of flowering time in this species2,3,4, very little is known about its molecular mechanisms for short-day (SD) plants. Here we show how the photoperiodic control of flowering is regulated in rice, a SD plant. Overexpression of OsGI5, an orthologue of the Arabidopsis GIGANTEA (GI) gene6,7 in transgenic rice, caused late flowering under both SD and LD conditions. Expression of the rice orthologue8 of the Arabidopsis CONSTANS (CO) gene9 was increased in the transgenic rice, whereas expression of the rice orthologue10 of FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT)11,12 was suppressed. Our results indicate that three key regulatory genes for the photoperiodic control of flowering are conserved between Arabidopsis, a LD plant, and rice, a SD plant, but regulation of the FT gene by CO was reversed, resulting in the suppression of flowering in rice under LD conditions.

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Figure 1: Flowering times of transgenic rice plants overexpressing OsGI.
Figure 2: Correlations between OsGI, Hd1(Se1) and Hd3a mRNA levels in OsGI-ox plants.
Figure 3: Temporal expression patterns of OsGI, Hd1(Se1) and Hd3a mRNAs in an OsGI-ox plant (line 18) over a 24-h period and analysis of OsGI-RNAi plants.
Figure 4: Transfection assays in rice protoplasts, and model of the genetic pathway controlling the photoperiodic response of flowering in rice and Arabidopsis.


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We thank Takeshi Izawa for help in the early part of this work, and members of the Plant Molecular Genetics Lab at NAIST for discussions. This research was supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Priority Areas of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology of Japan.

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Correspondence to Ko Shimamoto.

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Hayama, R., Yokoi, S., Tamaki, S. et al. Adaptation of photoperiodic control pathways produces short-day flowering in rice. Nature 422, 719–722 (2003).

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