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The F-box protein FKF1 inhibits dimerization of COP1 in the control of photoperiodic flowering
Plants have different blooming timing, depending on their geographical location and regional climate, even if they are of the same species. Many researchers, both inside and outside Korea, have been actively studying these blooming periods and found that they are determined by a complex interaction between various proteins. However, it has so far remained unknown how plants recognize environmental changes and react to them.
Professors Nam-Chon Paek at Department of Plant Science, Seoul National University and Woe-Yeon Kim at Gyeongsang National University and their teams of researchers (“the Teams”) have studied the relationship between environmental elements and blooming periods using plants that deviated from their usual blooming periods and found that FKF1, one of the Blue-light receptors, played an important role in recognizing the length of daylight time and controlling the blooming period. Details of their study are explained below:
The Teams mated FKF1 mutants (FKF1 is the Bluelight receptor that promotes blooming, and these mutants showed late blooming periods) and COP1 mutants (COP1 inhibits blooming, and these mutants showed early blooming periods) to produce double mutants. When the blooming periods were investigated, they were advanced, confirming the possibility that FKF1 genetically controls COP1. Accordingly, subsequent studies explored the mechanisms of how FKF1 controls COP1 function and found that FKF1 inhibits COP1 homo-dimer formation by directly interacting with each other in the presence of light. This was a conclusion that overturned the hypothesis, and the Teams had formulated that FKF1 can dissolve the COP1 dimer complex after activation under the light.
This study identified the blooming mechanism of plants under different daylengths. Under long-day conditions, FKF1 (which is activated by daylight) is activated during the daytime and creates the complex of FKF1 and COP1. The above process prevents COP1 from creating its own dimer complex, which stabilizes CO protein, the protein that promotes blooming, which consequently results in early blooming. Meanwhile, FKF1 is not activated under short day conditions, because it exists during nighttime. Subsequently, CO is degraded by the COP1 dimercomplex of COP1, which delays the blooming.
The Teams announced that “One organic co-adjustment controls the blooming timing of plants. Identification of these blooming time will allow better control of them for environmental or industrial purposes.”
This study was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea and the Rural Development Administration of Korea’s Woo Jangchoon Project. Study outcomes were published in the online version of Nature Communications (JCR impact factor 12.124 and a standardization influence index of 96.77) on December 22, 2017.
Student Reporter Lim, Dabin / Kim, Minji