Florigen distribution determined by a source–sink balance explains the diversity of inflorescence structures in Arabidopsis

Research paper by Akiko Satake, Motohide Seki, Makoto Iima, Takashi Teramoto, Yasumasa Nishiura

Indexed on: 14 Mar '16Published on: 01 Feb '16Published in: Journal of Theoretical Biology


The ability to continue flowering after loss of inductive environmental cues that trigger flowering is termed floral commitment. Reversible transition involving a switch from floral development back to vegetative development has been found in Arabidopsis mutants and many plant species. Although the molecular basis for floral commitment remains unclear, recent studies suggest that the persistent activity of FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) at inflorescences is required for floral commitment in Arabidopsis thaliana. Because FT encodes a mobile signal, florigen, which is generally transported from leaves to meristems through the phloem, understanding the transportation dynamics of FT is required to explore the role of FT on floral commitment. Here we developed a transportation model of leaf- and inflorescence-derived florigen and sucrose based on pressure-flow hypothesis. Depending on the demanded level of florigen supply for floral commitment of each floral meristem, the model predicted the change in inflorescence pattern from stable commitment to flower, transient flowering, and complete reversion. FT activity in inflorescence partly suppressed floral reversion, but complete suppression was achieved only when inflorescence became a source of sucrose. This finding highlights the importance of monitoring the spatio-temporal sucrose distribution and floral stimulus to understand inflorescence development mechanism.

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