Floral pathway integrator gene expression mediates gradual transmission of environmental and endogenous cues to flowering time

Dijk, A.D.J. van; Molenaar, J.


The appropriate timing of flowering is crucial for the reproductive success of plants. Hence, intricate genetic networks integrate various environmental and endogenous cues such as temperature or hormonal statues. These signals integrate into a network of floral pathway integrator genes. At a quantitative level, it is currently unclear how the impact of genetic variation in signaling pathways on flowering time is mediated by floral pathway integrator genes. Here, using datasets available from literature, we connect Arabidopsis thaliana flowering time in genetic backgrounds varying in upstream signalling components with the expression levels of floral pathway integrator genes in these genetic backgrounds. Our modelling results indicate that flowering time depends in a quite linear way on expression levels of floral pathway integrator genes. This gradual, proportional response of flowering time to upstream changes enables a gradual adaptation to changing environmental factors such as temperature and light.