Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Unlock Secret Of What Makes Plants Flower

Date:
April 23, 2007
Source:
Imperial College London
Summary:
A protein acting as a long-distance signal from leaf to shoot-tip tells plants when to flower, says new research published in Science Express. The finding and related research could have broad agricultural implications.

Flowers of an experimental Arabidopsis thaliana plant.
Credit: Photo by Peggy Greb / Courtesy of USDA/Agricultural Research Service

A protein acting as a long-distance signal from leaf to shoot-tip tells plants when to flower, says new research published in Science Express.

Related Articles


The study reveals the likely mechanism by which the Arabidopsis plant flowers in response to changes in day length. Earlier research had shown that plants' leaves perceived seasonal changes in day length, which triggers a long-distance signal to travel through the plant's vascular system from the leaf to the shoot apex, where flowering is induced. However, the identity of the long-distance signal remained unclear.

This new research, carried out by scientists at Imperial College London and the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, has led to the proposal that this signal is a protein known as Flowering Locus T Protein (FT protein), which is produced in leaves by the Flowering Locus T gene (FT gene). It travels through the plant's vascular system to the shoot apex, where it activates other genes, causing the plant to flower. The research team were able to track the progress of the protein through the plant by tagging it with a green fluorescent protein originally isolated from jellyfish, allowing it to be detected in living tissues using highly sensitive microscope systems.

The team then grafted two plants together, only one of which contained the gene for the fluorescent version of FT. This allowed them to show conclusively that FT protein moved from where it was produced in the leaves of one plant, across into the other plant.

The FT protein is produced when the FT gene is switched on by another gene known as CONSTANS. This is a key gene expressed in leaves which reacts to changes in day length.

Dr Colin Turnbull from Imperial College London's Division of Biology, who carried out the research, said: "This could be a really important breakthrough in plant science. Since the 1930s when it first became clear that something was communicating the perception of changes in day length in leaves to the shoot apex, and causing flowering, scientists have been trying to work out exactly how this mechanism works.

"Over the past couple of years several labs made exciting discoveries all pointing to the FT gene being central to controlling flowering time. Now that we have been able to track FT protein moving from its source in leaves to its destination in the shoot tip, we have a plausible explanation for how plants respond to day length. Parallel work in Japan shows very similar mechanisms operating in rice, so there is immediate potential to translate research into practical benefits for food crops. The ability to control flowering is of enormous commercial significance across food and non-food species, for example extending production seasons or designing plants better adapted to changing climate."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Imperial College London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Imperial College London. "Scientists Unlock Secret Of What Makes Plants Flower." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 April 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070419140912.htm>.
Imperial College London. (2007, April 23). Scientists Unlock Secret Of What Makes Plants Flower. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070419140912.htm
Imperial College London. "Scientists Unlock Secret Of What Makes Plants Flower." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070419140912.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird-Looking Dinosaur Solves 50-Year-Old Mystery

Weird-Looking Dinosaur Solves 50-Year-Old Mystery

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) You've probably seen some weird-looking dinosaurs, but have you ever seen one this weird? It's worth a look. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins