cicCartuja Centro de Investigaciones Científicas de la cartuja

Paper of the month

An Evolutionarily Conserved DOF-CONSTANS Module Controls Plant Photoperiodic Signaling


Eva Lucas-Reina, Francisco J. Romero-Campero, José M. Romero, and Federico Valverde Plant Physiology 2015, Vol. 168, 561-574

The response to daylength is a crucial process that evolved very early in plant evolution, entitling the early green eukaryote to predict seasonal variability and attune its physiological responses to the environment. The photoperiod responses evolved into the complex signaling pathways that govern the angiosperm floral transition today. The Chlamydomonas reinhardtii DNA-Binding with One Finger (CrDOF) gene controls transcription in a photoperiod-dependent manner, and its misexpression influences algal growth and viability. In short days, CrDOF enhances CrCO expression, a homolog of plant CONSTANS(CO), by direct binding to its promoter, while it reduces the expression of cell division genes in long days independently of CrCO. In Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), transgenic plants overexpressing CrDOF show floral delay and reduced expression of the photoperiodic genes CO and FLOWERING LOCUS T. The conservation of the DOF-CO module during plant evolution could be an important clue to understanding diversification by the inheritance of conserved gene toolkits in key developmental programs.