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Keywords:

  • cytokinin;
  • gibberellin;
  • floral signal;
  • SaMADS A;
  • Sinapis alba;
  • Arabidopsis thaliana.

Summary

In plants of Sinapis alba induced to flower by one long day, the MADS box gene, SaMADS A, is expressed initially in the central corpus (L3 cells) of the shoot apical meristem (SAM), about 1.5–2 days before initiation of the first floral meristem. We have combined a physiological approach by testing the effects of three putative floral signals on SaMADS A expression in the SAM of S. alba plants with a transgenic approach using Arabidopsis thaliana plants. A single application of a low dose of a cytokinin or a gibberellin to the apex of vegetative S. alba plants is capable of mimicking perfectly the initial effect of the long day on SaMADS A transcription. A treatment combining the two hormones causes the same activation but seems to enhance the level of SaMADS A expression. A sucrose application to the apex of vegetative plants is, on the contrary, unable to activate SaMADS A expression. None of these chemicals, alone or combined, is capable of causing the floral shift at the SAM. Since the constitutive expression of SaMADS A leads to precocious flowering in A. thaliana and antisense expression of a fragment of the A. thaliana homologue AGL20 leads to a delay in flowering time, these results are consistent with SaMADS A activation being an intermediate event in a cytokinin- and/or gibberellin-triggered signal transduction pathway that is involved in the regulation of floral transition in S. alba.