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Sugar molecules critical for triggering flowering



February 11, 2013


Scientists at Max Planck Institutes in Potsdam and Tübingen have found that sugar molecules are essential for allowing flowering, even when age, day length and temperature triggers are met. As the formation of flowers is an energy-intensive process, the sugar molecule T6P must signal that the plant has the reserves to create flowers.

“Since plants contain only minute amounts of T6P, it has been suspected that it could be a signalling molecule,” explains Vanessa Wahl, lead author of the paper. “However, until now nobody knew how T6P interacted with the complex genetic network that regulates the onset of flowering.”

Blocking the production of T6P in thale cress, Arabidopsis thaliana, delayed flowering and in extreme cases stopped it altogether. This held true even when the plants were grown under highly inductive conditions. “We were able to show that this sugar is indispensable for the production of the FT protein in the leaves,” adds corresponding author Markus Schmid, “and, as we know, flowering without FT is greatly delayed.”

In addition, T6P influences both the production of the age pathway microRNA and the expression of its target genes. This means that this sugar molecule regulates two of the most important pathways that control the onset of flowering.

From Science Daily Feb 6 2013.

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