Paper of the month


Paper of the month (May 2006)


The mRNA of the Arabidopsis Gene FT Moves from Leaf to Shoot Apex and Induces Flowering


Huang T, Bohlenius H, Eriksson S, Parcy F, Nilsson O. 2005.

Umea Plant Science Centre, Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, S-90183, Umea, Sweden.


Science 309: 1694 - 1696.

Abstract: Day length controls flowering time in many plants. The day-length signal is perceived in the leaf, but how this signal is transduced to the shoot apex, where floral initiation occurs, is not known. In Arabidopsis, the day-length response depends on the induction of the FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) gene. We show here that local induction of FT in a single Arabidopsis leaf is sufficient to trigger flowering. The FT messenger RNA is transported to the shoot apex, where downstream genes are activated. These data suggest that the FT mRNA is an important component of the elusive "florigen" signal that moves from leaf to shoot apex.




This article identifies FT mRNA as the florigen–or at least one component of the florigen–that travels from the day length sensor of the plant, namely leaves to the flowering time decision center, namely shoot apex. The arrival of this messenger in shoot apex then triggers induces expression of downstream genes and these events ultimately culminate in initation of floral meristem development. It was very interesting that the authors show that even one leaf if allowed to perceive the day length is sufficient to trigger flowering.


The elegant identification of a messenger RNA (FT) as the messenger to convey day length changes to help shoot apex make decisions about flowering time is the reason this paper is our paper of the month. This article was also evaluated for Faculty of 1000 Biology by Faculty of 1000 Biology member Gabriele Varani (University of Washington, USA).




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