Adaptation to seasonal change is a crucial component of an organism's survival strategy. To monitor seasonal variation, organisms have developed the capacity to measure day length (photoperiodism). Day-length assessment involves the photoperiodic control of flowering in Arabidopsis thaliana, whereby the coincidence of light and high expression of CONSTANS (CO) induces the expression of FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT), leading to flowering in long-day conditions1. Although controlling CO expression is clearly a key step in day-length discrimination, the mechanism that generates day-length-dependent CO expression remains unknown. Here we show that the clock-controlled FLAVIN-BINDING, KELCH REPEAT, F-BOX (FKF1)2 protein has an essential role in generating the diurnal CO peak and that this function is dependent on light. We show that a recombinant FKF1 LIGHT, OXYGEN OR VOLTAGE (LOV)3 domain binds the chromophore flavin mononucleotide and undergoes light-induced photochemistry, indicating that FKF1 may function as a photoperiodic blue-light receptor. It is likely that the circadian control of FKF1 expression and the light regulation of FKF1 function coincide to control the daytime CO waveform precisely, which in turn is crucial for day-length discrimination by Arabidopsis.
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We thank T. Schultz, P. Más, F. Harmon and S. Hazen for critically reading the manuscript; Syngenta for the T-DNA insertion line; B. Bartel for fkf1 and the pGEX FKF1 LOV construct; T. Kagawa and M. Wada for phot1 phot2; M. Yanovsky for cry1 cry2; G. Coupland for 35S::CO; and J. Harper for the TAP tag construct. This work was supported by grants from the NIH (to S.A.K. and H.G.T.); a grant from the NSF (to W.R.B.); and a grant from JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowships for Research Abroad (to T.I.). This is manuscript 15868-CB of The Scripps Research Institute.
The authors declare that they have no competing financial interests.
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