Natural haplotypes of FLM non-coding sequences fine-tune flowering time in ambient spring temperatures in Arabidopsis

Elife. 2017 Mar 15;6:e22114. doi: 10.7554/eLife.22114.


Cool ambient temperatures are major cues determining flowering time in spring. The mechanisms promoting or delaying flowering in response to ambient temperature changes are only beginning to be understood. In Arabidopsis thaliana, FLOWERING LOCUS M (FLM) regulates flowering in the ambient temperature range and FLM is transcribed and alternatively spliced in a temperature-dependent manner. We identify polymorphic promoter and intronic sequences required for FLM expression and splicing. In transgenic experiments covering 69% of the available sequence variation in two distinct sites, we show that variation in the abundance of the FLM-ß splice form strictly correlate (R2 = 0.94) with flowering time over an extended vegetative period. The FLM polymorphisms lead to changes in FLM expression (PRO2+) but may also affect FLM intron 1 splicing (INT6+). This information could serve to buffer the anticipated negative effects on agricultural systems and flowering that may occur during climate change.

Keywords: a. thaliana; flowering time; natural variation; plant biology; polymorphism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Arabidopsis / radiation effects*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Flowers / growth & development*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Haplotypes*
  • MADS Domain Proteins / metabolism*
  • RNA Splicing
  • Temperature*


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • FLM protein, Arabidopsis
  • MADS Domain Proteins

Grant support

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.