Plant development is highly responsive to ambient temperature, and this trait has been linked to the ability of plants to adapt to climate change. The mechanisms by which natural populations modulate their thermoresponsiveness are not known. To address this, we surveyed Arabidopsis accessions for variation in thermal responsiveness of elongation growth and mapped the corresponding loci. We find that the transcriptional regulator EARLY FLOWERING3 (ELF3) controls elongation growth in response to temperature. Through a combination of modeling and experiments, we show that high temperature relieves the gating of growth at night, highlighting the importance of temperature-dependent repressors of growth. ELF3 gating of transcriptional targets responds rapidly and reversibly to changes in temperature. We show that the binding of ELF3 to target promoters is temperature dependent, suggesting a mechanism where temperature directly controls ELF3 activity.
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