EMBRYONIC FLOWER2, a novel polycomb group protein homolog, mediates shoot development and flowering in Arabidopsis

Plant Cell. 2001 Nov;13(11):2471-81. doi: 10.1105/tpc.010227.


In higher plants, developmental phase changes are regulated by a complex gene network. Loss-of-function mutations in the EMBRYONIC FLOWER genes (EMF1 and EMF2) cause Arabidopsis to flower directly, bypassing vegetative shoot growth. This phenotype suggests that the EMF genes play a major role in repression of the reproductive program. Positional cloning of EMF2 revealed that it encodes a zinc finger protein similar to FERTILIZATION-INDEPENDENT SEED2 and VERNALIZATION2 of Arabidopsis. These genes are characterized as structural homologs of Suppressor of zeste 12 [Su(z)12], a novel Polycomb group gene currently identified in Drosophila. In situ hybridization studies have demonstrated that EMF2 RNA is found in developing embryos, in both the vegetative and the reproductive shoot meristems, and in lateral organ primordia. Transgenic suppression of EMF2 produced a spectrum of early-flowering phenotypes, including emf2 mutant-like phenotype. This result confirms the role of EMF2 in phase transitions by repressing reproductive development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis Proteins*
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Primers
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plant Proteins / genetics*
  • Plant Shoots / growth & development*
  • Plant Stems / genetics*
  • Polycomb-Group Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • DNA Primers
  • EMF1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Plant Proteins
  • Polycomb-Group Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AB053171