The MADS box gene, FOREVER YOUNG FLOWER, acts as a repressor controlling floral organ senescence and abscission in Arabidopsis

Plant J. 2011 Oct;68(1):168-85. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2011.04677.x. Epub 2011 Jul 21.


The ectopic expression of a MADS box gene FOREVER YOUNG FLOWER (FYF) caused a significant delay of senescence and a deficiency of abscission in flowers of transgenic Arabidopsis. The defect in floral abscission was found to be due to a deficiency in the timing of cell separation of the abscission zone cells. Down-regulation of INFLORESCENCE DEFICIENT IN ABSCISSION (IDA) may contribute to the delay of the floral abscission in 35S:FYF flowers. FYF was found to be highly expressed in young flowers prior to pollination and was significantly decreased after pollination, a pattern that correlated with its function. Ethylene insensitivity in senescence/abscission and the down-regulation of ETHYLENE RESPONSE DNA-BINDING FACTOR 1 (EDF1) and EDF2, downstream genes in the ethylene response, in 35S:FYF Arabidopsis suggested a role for FYF in regulating senescence/abscission by suppressing the ethylene response. This role was further supported by the fact that 35S:FYF enhanced the delay of flower senescence/abscission in ethylene response 1 (etr1), ethylene-insensitive 2 (ein2) and constitutive triple response 1 (ctr1) mutants, which have defects in upstream genes of the ethylene signaling pathway. The presence of a repressor domain in the C-terminus of FYF and the enhancement of the delay of senescence/abscission in FYF+SRDX (containing a suppression motif) transgenic plants suggested that FYF acts as a repressor. Indeed, in FYF-DR+VP16 transgenic dominant-negative mutant plants, in which FYF was converted to a potent activator by fusion to a VP16-AD motif, the senescence/abscission of the flower organs was significantly promoted, and the expression of BOP2, IDA and EDF1/2 was up-regulated. Our data suggest a role for FYF in controlling floral senescence/abscission by repressing ethylene responses and regulating the expression of BOP2 and IDA in Arabidopsis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / anatomy & histology
  • Arabidopsis / drug effects
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cellular Senescence*
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • Down-Regulation
  • Ethylenes / pharmacology
  • Flowers / anatomy & histology
  • Flowers / drug effects
  • Flowers / genetics
  • Flowers / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • MADS Domain Proteins / genetics
  • MADS Domain Proteins / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional
  • Phenotype
  • Plant Growth Regulators / pharmacology
  • Plant Leaves / anatomy & histology
  • Plant Leaves / drug effects
  • Plant Leaves / genetics
  • Plant Leaves / physiology
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • RNA, Plant / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Up-Regulation


  • AGL42 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • BOP2 protein, Arabidopsis
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Ethylenes
  • IDA protein, Arabidopsis
  • MADS Domain Proteins
  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • RNA, Plant
  • Transcription Factors
  • ethylene