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Review article2012Peer reviewedOpen access

The multifaceted roles of FLOWERING LOCUS T in plant development

Pin, P. A.; Nilsson, O.


One of the key developmental processes in flowering plants is the differentiation of the shoot apical meristem into a floral meristem. This transition is regulated through the integration of environmental and endogenous stimuli, involving a complex, hierarchical signalling network. In arabidopsis, the FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) protein, a mobile signal recognized as a major component of florigen, has a central position in mediating the onset of flowering. FT-like genes seem to be involved in regulating the floral transition in all angiosperms examined to date. Evidence from molecular evolution studies suggests that the emergence of FT-like genes coincided with the evolution of the flowering plants. Hence, the role of FT in floral promotion is conserved, but appears to be restricted to the angiosperms. Besides flowering, FT-like proteins have also been identified as major regulatory factors in a wide range of developmental processes including fruit set, vegetative growth, stomatal control and tuberization. These multifaceted roles of FT-like proteins have resulted from extensive gene duplication events, which occurred independently in nearly all modern angiosperm lineages, followed by sub- or neo-functionalization. This review assesses the plethora of roles that FT-like genes have acquired during evolution and their implications in plant diversity, adaptation and domestication.


florigen; gene duplication; mobile signal; molecular evolution; neo-functionalization; plant diversification; tuberigen

Published in

Plant, Cell and Environment
2012, Volume: 35, number: 10, pages: 1742-1755

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