The CONSTANS-FT pathway defines a core module for reproductive transition in both long-day (LD) and short-day (SD) plants. Changes in the transcriptional function of the CONSTANS (CO) protein have been proposed to mediate differential SD activation of FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) orthologs in SD plants. Potato Andigena genotypes have an obligate SD requirement for tuber formation, and this photoperiodic response correlates with activation of the FT StSP6A gene in leaves. The potato StCOL1 factor represses expression of this mobile tuberization signal, but the control mechanism is poorly understood. Here, we analyzed StCOL1 diurnal oscillation and protein accumulation at different photoperiods and light wavelengths. We observed that the potato StCOL1 gene peaked at dawn and that, in contrast to the Arabidopsis AtCO homolog, the light receptor phyB is necessary for protein stabilization in the light. Reduced StCOL1 levels in RNAi lines strongly correlated with downregulated expression of an additional potato FT family member, StSP5G. Co-regulated StCOL1 and StSP5G expression suggested that StCOL1 activates this target directly rather than controlling StSP6A expression. By hybridization of a universal protein-binding microarray, we established that StCOL1 binds a TGTGGT element, and we found that immunoprecipitated StCOL1 protein fractions were enriched in StSP5G promoter fragments bearing this element. We show that StSP5G represses tuberization in LD conditions and that this FT-like homolog suppresses StSP6A gene expression. Rewiring StCOL1 transcriptional function from direct activation of the StSP6A inducer signal to the control of an FT-like repressor thus mediates the strict SD requirement of Andigena plants for tuberization.
- FLOWERING LOCUS T