The sugar transporter SWEET10 acts downstream of FLOWERING LOCUS T during floral transition of Arabidopsis thaliana

BMC Plant Biol. 2020 Feb 3;20(1):53. doi: 10.1186/s12870-020-2266-0.


Background: Floral transition initiates reproductive development of plants and occurs in response to environmental and endogenous signals. In Arabidopsis thaliana, this process is accelerated by several environmental cues, including exposure to long days. The photoperiod-dependent promotion of flowering involves the transcriptional induction of FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) in the phloem of the leaf. FT encodes a mobile protein that is transported from the leaves to the shoot apical meristem, where it forms part of a regulatory complex that induces flowering. Whether FT also has biological functions in leaves of wild-type plants remains unclear.

Results: In order to address this issue, we first studied the leaf transcriptomic changes associated with FT overexpression in the companion cells of the phloem. We found that FT induces the transcription of SWEET10, which encodes a bidirectional sucrose transporter, specifically in the leaf veins. Moreover, SWEET10 is transcriptionally activated by long photoperiods, and this activation depends on FT and one of its earliest target genes SUPPRESSOR OF CONSTANS OVEREXPRESSION 1 (SOC1). The ectopic expression of SWEET10 causes early flowering and leads to higher levels of transcription of flowering-time related genes in the shoot apex.

Conclusions: Collectively, our results suggest that the FT-signaling pathway activates the transcription of a sucrose uptake/efflux carrier during floral transition, indicating that it alters the metabolism of flowering plants as well as reprogramming the transcription of floral regulators in the shoot meristem.

Keywords: FLOWERING LOCUS T; Flowering time; Photoperiod; Sugar transporter.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Flowers / genetics
  • Flowers / growth & development*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • MADS Domain Proteins / genetics*
  • MADS Domain Proteins / metabolism
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics*
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Plant Leaves / genetics
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Transcriptome


  • AGL20 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • FT protein, Arabidopsis
  • MADS Domain Proteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • SWEET12 protein, Arabidopsis