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Vernalization in Arabidopsis thaliana is mediated by the PHD finger protein VIN3


In biennials and winter annuals, flowering is typically blocked in the first growing season. Exposure to the prolonged cold of winter, through a process called vernalization, is required to alleviate this block and permit flowering in the second growing season1. In winter-annual types of Arabidopsis thaliana, a flowering repressor, FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC), is expressed at levels that inhibit flowering in the first growing season2. Vernalization promotes flowering by causing a repression of FLC that is mitotically stable after return to warm growing conditions2. Here we identify a gene with a function in the measurement of the duration of cold exposure and in the establishment of the vernalized state. We show that this silencing involves changes in the modification of histones in FLC chromatin.

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Figure 1: Characterization of vernalization-insensitive 3 mutants.
Figure 2: VIN3 cloning and expression pattern.
Figure 3: ChIP assays in wild-type winter-annual Arabidopsis.
Figure 4: Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays in vernalization mutants.


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We thank S. Michaels for creating and helping to screen the mutant populations that provided the vin3 mutant, for the FLC–GUS construct, and for advice and insight; and M. Doyle for help in the preparation of the manuscript. R.M.A. thanks C. O. Miller and J. A. D. Zeevaart for encouragement and mentoring in flowering-time regulation. This work was supported by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and the Graduate School of the University of Wisconsin, by the United States Department of Agriculture National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program, and by a grant to R.M.A. from the National Science Foundation. The creation of insertion mutant lines was supported by a National Science Foundation grant.

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Correspondence to Richard M. Amasino.

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Sung, S., Amasino, R. Vernalization in Arabidopsis thaliana is mediated by the PHD finger protein VIN3. Nature 427, 159–164 (2004).

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