The transition to flowering in plants is regulated by environmental factors such as temperature and light1. Plants grown under dense canopies or at high density perceive a decrease in the ratio of red to far-red incoming light. This change in light quality serves as a warning of competition, triggering a series of responses known collectively as the ‘shade-avoidance syndrome’. During shade avoidance, stems elongate at the expense of leaf expansion, and flowering is accelerated2,3. Of the five phytochromes—a family of red/far-red light photoreceptors—in Arabidopsis, phytochrome B (phyB) has the most significant role in shade-avoidance responses4,5, but the mechanisms by which phyB regulates flowering in response to altered ratios of red to far-red light are largely unknown. Here we identify PFT1 (PHYTOCHROME AND FLOWERING TIME 1), a nuclear protein that acts in a phyB pathway and induces flowering in response to suboptimal light conditions. PFT1 functions downstream of phyB to regulate the expression of FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT), providing evidence for the existence of a light-quality pathway that regulates flowering time in plants.
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We thank the Kasuza Research Institute and the Arabidopsis Stock Center for providing EST clone APZL03h11R and BAC F2J7, respectively; D. Weigel for providing FT- and CO-overexpressing lines, and for useful advice; P. Wigge, S. Mora-Garcia, D. Weigel, J. Nemhauser, M. Yanovsky and J. Casal for comments on the manuscript; L. Barden for figure preparation; and B. Smoot, N. Ga and M. Ledgerwood for technical assistance. This work was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health to J.C. (GM52413) and by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. P.C. was a fellow of the PEW Latin American Fellows Program and Fundación Antorchas.
The authors declare that they have no competing financial interests.
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Cerdán, P., Chory, J. Regulation of flowering time by light quality. Nature 423, 881–885 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature01636
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