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Research identifies protein that signals flowering in squash plants

ivery vector to test whether long-distance movement of FT mRNA and/or FT protein was required for floral induction. The choice of a potyvirus vector was important as these plant viruses do not produce sub-genomic RNA species, whose presence could lead to confounding results. The authors found that C. moschata plants could be induced to flower under the normally non-inducing LD conditions following ectopic expression of FT by the ZYMV vector. Analysis of such induced plants showed that the infection zone of ZYMV was not coincident with the plant’s floral meristems, indicating that FT mRNA is unlikely to be the florigenic signal in this system. Next, heterografting studies were conducted using flowering Cucurbita maxima (pumpkin) stocks (the stock is the portion below the graft union containing the roots) grafted to non-induced, LD-grown C. moschata scions (the portion above the graft union). These experiments led to flowering of the C. moschata scions, indicating efficient transmission of a florigenic signal from the C. maxima stocks through the phloem into the scions. Analyses performed on phloem sap collected from these flowering C. maxima stocks failed to detect the presence of FT mRNA, but revealed the presence of FT protein in the translocation stream.

This research provides some of the most solid evidence to date that FT protein acts as a florigenic signal.


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Source:American Society of Plant Biologists


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