Orchestration of the floral transition and floral development in Arabidopsis by the bifunctional transcription factor APETALA2

Plant Cell. 2010 Jul;22(7):2156-70. doi: 10.1105/tpc.110.075606. Epub 2010 Jul 30.


The Arabidopsis thaliana transcription factor APETALA2 (AP2) has numerous functions, including roles in seed development, stem cell maintenance, and specification of floral organ identity. To understand the relationship between these different roles, we mapped direct targets of AP2 on a genome-wide scale in two tissue types. We find that AP2 binds to thousands of loci in the developing flower, many of which exhibit AP2-dependent transcription. Opposing, logical effects are evident in AP2 binding to two microRNA genes that influence AP2 expression, with AP2 positively regulating miR156 and negatively regulating miR172, forming a complex direct feedback loop, which also included all but one of the AP2-like miR172 target clade members. We compare the genome-wide direct target repertoire of AP2 with that of SCHLAFMUTZE, a closely related transcription factor that also represses the transition to flowering. We detect clear similarities and important differences in the direct target repertoires that are also tissue specific. Finally, using an inducible expression system, we demonstrate that AP2 has dual molecular roles. It functions as both a transcriptional activator and repressor, directly inducing the expression of the floral repressor AGAMOUS-LIKE15 and directly repressing the transcription of floral activators like SUPPRESSOR OF OVEREXPRESSION OF CONSTANS1.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / physiology*
  • Binding Sites
  • Flowers / growth & development*
  • Gene Expression
  • Genome, Plant
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • Homeodomain Proteins / physiology*
  • Mutation
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Nuclear Proteins / physiology*


  • APETALA2 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE21301