The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 49: 773 - 780 (2005)

Vol 49, Issue 5-6

Special Issue: Plant Development

Regulated RNA processing in the control of Arabidopsis flowering

Published: 30 November -0001

Victor Quesada1, Caroline Dean2 and Gordon G. Simpson*,3,4

1División de Genética and Instituto de Bioingeniería, Universidad Miguel Hernández, Campus de Elche, Elche, Spain, 2Department of Cell & Developmental Biology, John Innes Centre, Norwich, U.K, 3Dundee University Plant Research Unit at SCRI, Invergowrie, Dundee, U.K. and 4Gene Expression Programme, Scottish Crop Research Institute, Invergowrie, Dundee, UK.


Flowering time is controlled in order to ensure reproductive success. Molecular genetic analyses in Arabidopsis thaliana have identified many genes regulating this developmental switch. One group of factors which promote flowering do so by down-regulating the expression of the MADS-box floral repressor, FLC. RNA processing appears to play an important role in this regulation as genes within this group encode RNA binding proteins (FCA, FPA and FLK) and an mRNA 3' end processing factor (FY). FCA promotes flowering and negatively autoregulates its own expression post-transcriptionally through a mechanism that involves alternative polyadenylation. FCA physically interacts with FY and this interaction is required for the function FY performs in flowering control and in FCA autoregulation. Potential similarities are emerging in the molecular mechanisms controlling FLC expression and those controlling the floral homeotic gene, AGAMOUS. In addition, microRNAs have been shown to regulate plant developmental processes including the timing to flower. Together, these new data indicate that post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression plays an important role in regulating the floral transition.


Arabidopsis thaliana, flowering time, RNA processing, RNA-binding protein, miRNA

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