Title: Plants distinguish different photoperiods to independently control seasonal flowering and growth
Author: Qingqing Wang, Wei Liu, Chun Chung Leung, Daniel A. Tarté, Joshua M. Gendron
Abstract: Plants measure daylength (photoperiod) to regulate seasonal growth and flowering. Photoperiodic flowering has been well studied, but less is known about photoperiodic growth. By using a mutant with defects in photoperiodic growth, we identified a seasonal growth regulation pathway that functions in long days in parallel to the canonical long-day photoperiod flowering mechanism. This is achieved by using distinct mechanisms to detect different photoperiods: The flowering pathway measures photoperiod as the duration of light intensity, whereas the growth pathway measures photoperiod as the duration of photosynthetic activity (photosynthetic period). Plants can then independently control expression of genes required for flowering or growth. This demonstrates that seasonal flowering and growth are dissociable, allowing them to be coordinated independently across seasons.