The Arabidopsis ELF3 gene regulates vegetative photomorphogenesis and the photoperiodic induction of flowering.
Flowering in Arabidopsis thaliana is promoted by longday (LD) photoperiods such that plants grown in LD flower earlier, and after the production of fewer leaves, than plants grown in short-day (SD) photoperiods. The early-flowering 3 (elf3) mutant of Arabidopsis, which is insensitive to photoperiod with regard to floral initiation has been characterized elf3 mutants are also altered in several aspects of vegetative photomorphogenesis, including hypocotyl elongation. When inhibition of hypocotyl elongation was measured, elf3 mutant seedlings were less responsive than wild-type to all wavelengths of light, and most notably defective in blue and green light-mediated inhibition. When analyzed for the flowering-time phenotype, elf3 was epistatic to mutant alleles of the blue-light receptor encoding gene, HY4. However, when elf3 mutants were made deficient for functional phytochrome by the introduction of hy2 mutant alleles, the elf3 hy2 double mutants displayed the novel phenotype of flowering earlier than either single mutant while still exhibiting photoperiod insensitivity, indicating that a phytochrome-mediated pathway regulating floral initiation remains functional in elf3 single mutants. In addition, the inflorescences of one allelic combination of elf3 hy2 double mutants form a terminal flower similar to the structure produced by tfk1 single mutants. These results suggest that one of the signal transduction pathways controlling photoperiodism in Arabidopsis is regulated, at least in part, by photoreceptors other than phytochrome, and that the activity of the Arabidopsis inflorescence and floral meristem identity genes may be regulated by this same pathway.
Zagotta, M.T., Hicks, K.A., Jacobs, C.I., Young, J.C., Hangarter, R.P., and Meeks-Wagner, D.R. 1996. The ArabidopsisELF3 gene regulates vegetative photomorphogenesis and the photoperiodic induction of flowering. Plant J. 10:691-702.