Plant Diversity ›› 2021, Vol. 43 ›› Issue (01): 78-85.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2020.05.004

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Accession-specific flowering time variation in response to nitrate fluctuation in Arabidopsis thaliana

Fei-Hong Yana,b, Li-Ping Zhanga, Fang Chenga, Dong-Mei Yua, Jin-Yong Hua   

  1. a CAS Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, 650201, China;
    b University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100049, China
  • Received:2020-03-16 Revised:2020-05-22 Online:2021-02-25 Published:2021-03-25
  • Contact: Jin-Yong Hu
  • Supported by:
    We thank Yibo Sun, Dan Wang, Shulan Chen for their assistance in experiments. We appreciate Prof. Shibao Zhang for useful discussion. This work was supported by grants from National Natural Science Foundation of China (31570311 to J-Y H and 31800261 to F C), from the CAS Pioneer Hundred Talents Program (292015312D11035 to J-Y H), and CAS Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia to J-Y H, from the Postdoctoral targeted funding from Yunnan Province and the Yunnan basic and applied research funding to F C. This work is partially facilitated by the Germplasm Bank of Wild Species of China. The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Abstract: Flowering time, a key transition point from vegetative to reproductive growth, is regulated by an intrinsic complex of endogenous and exogenous signals including nutrient status. For hundreds of years, nitrogen has been well known to modulate flowering time, but the molecular genetic basis on how plants adapt to ever-changing nitrogen availability remains not fully explored. Here we explore how Arabidopsis natural variation in flowering time responds to nitrate fluctuation. Upon nitrate availability change, we detect accession- and photoperiod-specific flowering responses, which also feature a accession-specific dependency on growth traits. The flowering time variation correlates well with the expression of floral integrators, SOC1 and FT, in an accession-specific manner. We find that gene expression variation of key hub genes in the photoperiod-circadian-clock (GI), aging (SPLs) and autonomous (FLC) pathways associates with the expression change of these integrators, hence flowering time variation. Our results thus shed light on the molecular genetic mechanisms on regulation of accession- and photoperiod-specific flowering time variation in response to nitrate availability.

Key words: Nitrate, Arabidopsis thaliana, Photoperiod, Natural variation, Flowering time, Gene expression