CONSTANS mediates between the circadian clock and the control of flowering in Arabidopsis

Nature. 2001 Apr 26;410(6832):1116-20. doi: 10.1038/35074138.


Flowering is often triggered by exposing plants to appropriate day lengths. This response requires an endogenous timer called the circadian clock to measure the duration of the day or night. This timer also controls daily rhythms in gene expression and behavioural patterns such as leaf movements. Several Arabidopsis mutations affect both circadian processes and flowering time; but how the effect of these mutations on the circadian clock is related to their influence on flowering remains unknown. Here we show that expression of CONSTANS (CO), a gene that accelerates flowering in response to long days, is modulated by the circadian clock and day length. Expression of a CO target gene, called FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT), is restricted to a similar time of day as expression of CO. Three mutations that affect circadian rhythms and flowering time alter CO and FT expression in ways that are consistent with their effects on flowering. In addition, the late flowering phenotype of such mutants is corrected by overexpressing CO. Thus, CO acts between the circadian clock and the control of flowering, suggesting mechanisms by which day length regulates flowering time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins*
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Genes, Plant
  • Mutation
  • Photoperiod
  • Plant Proteins / physiology*
  • Plant Structures / physiology
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA, Plant / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • CONSTANS protein, Arabidopsis
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Plant Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Plant
  • Transcription Factors