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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2018

Temperature Sensing Is Distributed throughout the Regulatory Network that Controls FLC Epigenetic Silencing in Vernalization

Antoniou-Kourounioti, Rea L.; Howard, Martin; Hepworth, Jo; Heckmann, Amelie; Duncan, Susan; Questa, Julia; Rosa, Stefanie; Sall, Torbjorn; Holm, Svante; Dean, Caroline


Many organisms need to respond to complex, noisy environmental signals for developmental decision making. Here, we dissect how Arabidopsis plants integrate widely fluctuating field temperatures over month-long timescales to progressively upregulate VERNALIZATION INSENSITIVE3 (VIN3) and silence FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC), aligning flowering with spring. We develop a mathematical model for vernalization that operates on multiple timescales-long term (month), short term (day), and current (hour)-and is constrained by experimental data. Our analysis demonstrates that temperature sensing is not localized to specific nodes within the FLC network. Instead, temperature sensing is broadly distributed, with each thermosensory process responding to specific features of the plants' history of exposure to warm and cold. The model accurately predicts FLC silencing in new field data, allowing us to forecast FLC expression in changing climates. We suggest that distributed thermosensing may be a general property of thermoresponsive regulatory networks in complex natural environments.

Published in

Cell systems
2018, volume: 7, number: 6, pages: 643-655

Authors' information

Antoniou-Kourounioti, Rea L.
BBSRC John Innes Center
Hepworth, Jo
BBSRC John Innes Center
Heckmann, Amelie
BBSRC John Innes Center
Duncan, Susan
BBSRC John Innes Center
Questa, Julia
BBSRC John Innes Center
John Innes Centre
Sall, Torbjorn
Lund University
Holm, Svante
Mid-Sweden University
Dean, Caroline
BBSRC John Innes Center
Howard, Martin
BBSRC John Innes Center

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