RID1, encoding a Cys2/His2-type zinc finger transcription factor, acts as a master switch from vegetative to floral development in rice
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Changyin Wu*,,, Changjun You*,, Caishun Li*,, Tuan Long*, Guoxing Chen*, Mary E. Byrne, and Qifa Zhang*,
*National Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement, National Center of Plant Gene Research, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China; and
Department of Crop Genetics, John Innes Centre, Norwich NR4 7UH, United Kingdom
↵C.W., C.Y., and C.L. contributed equally to this work.
Contributed by Qifa Zhang, June 25, 2008
Transition from the vegetative phase to reproductive phase is a crucial process in the life cycle of higher plants. Although the molecular mechanisms of flowering regulation have been extensively characterized in a number of plant species, little is known regarding how the transition process initiates. Here, we show that the Rice Indeterminate 1 (RID1) gene acts as the master switch for the transition from the vegetative to reproductive phase. RID1 encodes a Cys-2/His-2-type zinc finger transcription factor that does not have an ortholog in Arabidopsis spp. A RID1 knockout (rid1), mutated by T-DNA insertion, never headed after growing for >500 days under a range of growth conditions and is thus referred to as a never-flowering phenotype. This mutation-suppressed expression of the genes is known to be involved in flowering regulation, especially in the Ehd1/Hd3a pathway and a series of RFT homologs. RID1 seems to be independent of the circadian clock. A model was proposed to place RID1 in the molecular pathways of flowering regulation in rice, for which there are two indispensable elements. In the first, RID1 is controlling the phase transition and initiation of floral induction. In the other, the Hd3a/RFL1/FTL complex acts as the immediate inducer of flowering. Loss of function in either element would cause never-flowering. Once the phase transition is induced with the activation of RID1, flowering signal is transduced and regulated through the various pathways and eventually integrated with FT-like proteins to induce flowering.