Date: 12th February 2020
Title: Mechanisms conferring seasonal flowering responses in annual and perennial plants
Location: Seminar room B4, Forest Sciences Building, Latokartanonkaari 7-9
Host: Timo Hytönen
Abstract: The plant life-cycle varies tremendously among species. We study how flowering is controlled by seasonal cues in the context of annual and perennial life cycles. Annuals reproduce once in their life time producing high seed yields, whereas perennials live for many years but limit the extent of reproduction each year. We focus on the Brassicaceae family, in which annual species have diverged from perennials many times. We use annual Arabidopsis thaliana to decipher regulatory networks controlling seasonal responses and exploit perennial Arabis alpina to determine how these networks change during evolution to confer ecologically significant differences in flowering behaviour. Recently, we showed how a network of microRNAs and transcription factors act in the shoot apex to control the age at which the plant becomes sensitive to winter cold. The activity of this network differs between annuals and perennials, effectively delaying flowering of perennials. The talk will describe our recent progress in understanding regulatory processes that control the transition to flowering and how these diverge during evolution.