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A critical role of the soybean evening complex in the control of photoperiod sensitivity and adaptation
Photoperiod sensitivity is a key factor in plant adaptation and crop production. In the short-day plant soybean, adaptation to low latitude environments is provided by mutations at the J locus, which confer extended flowering phase and thereby improve yield. The identity of J as an ortholog of Arabidopsis ELF3, a component of the circadian evening complex (EC), implies that orthologs of other EC components may have similar roles. Here we show that the two soybean homeologs of LUX ARRYTHMO interact with J to form a soybean EC. Characterization of mutants reveals that these genes are highly redundant in function but together are critical for flowering under short day, where the lux1 lux2 double mutant shows extremely late flowering and a massively extended flowering phase. This phenotype exceeds that of any soybean flowering mutant reported to date, and is strongly reminiscent of the “Maryland Mammoth” tobacco mutant that featured in the seminal 1920 study of plant photoperiodism by Garner and Allard [W. W. Garner, H. A. Allard, J. Agric. Res. 18, 553–606 (1920)]. We further demonstrate that the J–LUX complex suppresses transcription of the key flowering repressor E1 and its two homologs via LUX binding sites in their promoters. These results indicate that the EC–E1 interaction has a central role in soybean photoperiod sensitivity, a phenomenon also first described by Garner and Allard. EC and E1 family genes may therefore constitute key targets for customized breeding of soybean varieties with precise flowering time adaptation, either by introgression of natural variation or generation of new mutants by gene editing.
Grains Research & Development Corporation
Publication titleNational Academy of Sciences of The United States of America. Proceedings
Department/SchoolSchool of Natural Sciences
PublisherNatl Acad Sciences
Place of publication2101 Constitution Ave Nw, Washington, USA, Dc, 20418
Rights statementCopyright © 2021 National Academy of Sciences.