Two evolutionarily distant plant species, rice (Oryza sativa L.), a short-day (SD) plant, and Arabidopsis thaliana, a long-day plant, share a conserved genetic network controlling photoperiodic flowering. The orthologous floral regulators-rice Heading date 1 (Hd1) and Arabidopsis CONSTANS (CO)-integrate circadian clock and external light signals into mRNA expression of the FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) group floral inducer. Here, we report that the rice Early heading date 1 (Ehd1) gene, which confers SD promotion of flowering in the absence of a functional allele of Hd1, encodes a B-type response regulator that might not have an ortholog in the Arabidopsis genome. Ehd1 mRNA was induced by 1-wk SD treatment, and Ehd1 may promote flowering by inducing FT-like gene expression only under SD conditions. Microarray analysis further revealed a few MADS box genes downstream of Ehd1. Our results indicate that a novel two-component signaling cascade is integrated into the conserved pathway in the photoperiodic control of flowering in rice.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental Biology