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Comparative analysis of the pteridophyte Adiantum MFT ortholog reveals the specificity of combined FT/MFT C and N terminal interaction with FD for the regulation of the downstream gene AP1

Abstract

To study the evolution of phosphatidylethanolamine-binding protein (PEBP) gene families in non-flowering plants, we performed a functional analysis of the PEBP gene AcMFT of the MFT clade in the pteridophyte Adiantum capillus-veneris. The expression of AcMFT was regulated by photoperiod similar to that for FT under both long day and short day conditions. Ectopic expression of AcMFT in Arabidopsis promotes the floral transition and partially complements the late flowering defect in transgenic Arabidopsis ft-1 mutants, suggesting that AcMFT functions similarly to FT in flowering plants. Interestingly, a similar partial compensation of the ft-1 late flowering phenotype was observed in Arabidopsis ectopically expressing only exon 4 of the C terminus of AcMFT and FT. This result indicated that the fourth exon of AcMFT and FT plays a similar and important role in promoting flowering. Further analysis indicated that exons 1–3 in the N terminus specifically enhanced the function of FT exon 4 in controlling flowering in Arabidopsis. Protein pull-down assays indicated that Arabidopsis FD proteins interact with full-length FT and AcMFT, as well as peptides encoded by 1–3 exon fragments or the 4th exon alone. Furthermore, similar FRET efficiencies for FT-FD and AcMFT-FD heterodimer in nucleus were observed. These results indicated that FD could form the similar complex with FT and AcMFT. Further analysis indicated that the expression of AP1, a gene downstream of FT, was up-regulated more strongly by FT than AcMFT in transgenic Arabidopsis. Our results revealed that AcMFT from a non-flowering plant could interact with FD to regulate the floral transition and that this function was reduced due to the weakened ability of AcMFT-FD to activate the downstream gene AP1.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by Grants to C-H Y from the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan, ROC, Grant Number NSC97-2313-B-005-019-MY3. This work was also supported in part by the Ministry of Education, Taiwan, ROC under the ATU plan.

Author contributions

C-H. Y. developed the overall strategy, designed experiments and coordinated the project. C-J. H. performed transgenic plant analyses, gene expression analyses, FRET analyses and protein purification and pull-down assays. C-H. Y. and C-J. H. prepared and revised the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Chang-Hsien Yang.

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Hou, CJ., Yang, CH. Comparative analysis of the pteridophyte Adiantum MFT ortholog reveals the specificity of combined FT/MFT C and N terminal interaction with FD for the regulation of the downstream gene AP1 . Plant Mol Biol 91, 563–579 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11103-016-0489-0

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Keywords

  • Arabidopsis thaliana
  • Adiantum capillus-veneris
  • FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT)
  • MOTHER OF FT AND TFL1 (MFT)
  • APETALA1 (AP1)
  • Flowering time