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Changes in light quality indicative of competition for this essential resource influence plant growth and developmental transitions; however, little is known about neighbor proximity-induced acceleration of reproduction. Phytochrome B (phyB) senses light cues from plant competitors, ultimately leading to the expression of the floral inducers FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) and TWIN SISTER of FT (TSF). Here we show that PHYTOCHROME INTERACTING FACTORs 4, 5 and 7 (PIF4, PIF5 and PIF7) mediate neighbor proximity-induced flowering, with PIF7 playing a prominent role. These transcriptional regulators act directly downstream of phyB to promote expression of FT and TSF. Neighbor proximity enhances PIF accumulation towards the end of the day, coinciding with enhanced floral inducer expression. We present evidence supporting direct PIF-regulated TSF expression. The relevance of our findings is illustrated by the prior identification of FT, TSF and PIF4 as loci underlying flowering time regulation in natural conditions.


Vinicius Costa Galvāo, Anne-Sophie Fiorucci, Martine Trevisan, José Manuel Franco-Zorilla, Anupama Goyal, Emanuel Schmid-Siegert, Roberto Solano, Christian Fankhauser. PIF transcription factors link a neighbor threat cue to accelerated reproduction in Arabidopsis. Nature communications. 2019 Sep 05;10(1):4005

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PMID: 31488833

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