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Title: Functional characterization of a putative glycine max ELF4 transgenic aradopsis and its role during flowering control

item GOMES, JULIANA - Embrapa
item HENNING, LILIANE - Embrapa
item NAKAYAMA, THIAGO - Embrapa
item MOLINARI, HUGO - Embrapa
item BASSO, MARCOS - Embrapa
item Harmon, Frank

Submitted to: Frontiers in Plant Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/7/2017
Publication Date: 4/15/2017
Citation: Gomes, J.M., Henning, L.M., Fuganti-Pagliarini, R., Nepomuceno, A.L., Nakayama, T.J., Molinari, H.B., Basso, M.F., Harmon, F.G. 2017. Functional characterization of a putative glycine max ELF4 transgenic aradopsis and its role during flowering control. Frontiers in Plant Science. 8:618. doi:10.3389/fpls.201.00618.

Interpretive Summary: Many food products, such as soybeans, come from the flowers of crop plants. Flower production in this crop plant, as well as many others, depends on favorable environmental conditions. Plants respond to favorable environmental conditions by changing the expression of genes and this brings about the production of flowers. Knowing the genes important for flowering in soybean plants will be helpful for plant researchers to improve production of soybeans; however, flowering genes are not well characterized in this plant. This study found a soybean gene, called soybean EARLY FLOWERING 4 (ELF4), that is likely to be important for soybean plants to identify favorable environmental conditions and respond by making flowers. The plant research community will be able to use the discovery of the soybean ELF4 gene in the development of new types of soybean plants, and other related crop plants, to improve agriculture through biotechnology and plant breeding.

Technical Abstract: Flowering is an important trait in major crops like soybean due to its direct relation to grain production. The circadian clock mediates the perception of seasonal changes in day length and temperature to modulate flowering time. The circadian clock gene EARLY FLOWERING 4 (ELF4) was identified in Arabidopsis thaliana and is believed to play a key role in the integration of photoperiod, circadian regulation, and flowering. The molecular circuitry that comprises the circadian clock and flowering control in soybeans is just beginning to be understood. To date, insufficient information regarding the soybean negative flowering regulators exist, and the biological function of the soybean ELF4 (GmELF4) remains unknown. Here, we investigate the ELF4 family members in soybean and functionally characterize a GmELF4 homologous gene. The constitutive overexpression of GmELF4 delayed flowering in Arabidopsis, showing the ELF4 functional conservation among plants as part of the flowering control machinery. We also show that GmELF4 alters the expression of Arabidopsis key flowering time genes (AtCO and AtFT), and this down-regulation is the likely cause of flowering delay phenotypes. Furthermore, we identified the GmELF4 network genes to infer the participation of GmELF4 in soybeans. The data generated in this study provide original insights for comprehending the role of the soybean circadian clock ELF4 gene as a negative flowering controller.