Phytochrome control of flowering is temperature sensitive and correlates with expression of the floral integrator FT



In Arabidopsis flowering is accelerated by reduced red:far-red (R:FR) ratio which signals the presence of neighbouring vegetation. Hastened flowering is one component of the shade-avoidance syndrome of responses, which alter many aspects of development in response to the threat of potential competition. Of the red/far-red-absorbing photoreceptors it is phyB that plays the most prominent role in shade-avoidance, although other related phytochromes act redundantly with phyB. It is well established that the phyB mutant has a constitutively early flowering phenotype. However, we have shown that the early flowering phenotype of phyB is temperature-dependent. We have established that this temperature-sensitive flowering response defines a pathway that appears to be independent of the autonomous-FLC pathway. Furthermore, we have demonstrated that the phytochromes control the expression of the floral promoter FT. We have also shown that other phyB-controlled responses, including petiole elongation, are not sensitive to the same temperature change. This suggests that discrete pathways control flowering and petiole elongation, components of the shade-avoidance response. This work provides an insight into the phytochrome and temperature interactions that maintain flowering control.