Developmental plasticity enables plants to respond rapidly to changing environmental conditions, such as temperature fluctuations. Understanding how plants measure temperature and integrate this information into developmental programs at the molecular level will be essential to breed thermo-tolerant crop varieties. Recent studies identified alternative splicing (AS) as a possible 'molecular thermometer', allowing plants to quickly adjust the abundance of functional transcripts to environmental perturbations. In this review, recent advances regarding the effects of temperature-responsive AS on plant development will be discussed, with emphasis on the circadian clock and flowering time control. The challenge for the near future will be to understand the molecular mechanisms by which temperature can influence AS regulation.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.