DEK domain-containing proteins control flowering time in Arabidopsis

New Phytol. 2021 Jul;231(1):182-192. doi: 10.1111/nph.17366. Epub 2021 May 2.


Evolutionarily conserved DEK domain-containing proteins have been implicated in multiple chromatin-related processes, mRNA splicing and transcriptional regulation in eukaryotes. Here, we show that two DEK proteins, DEK3 and DEK4, control the floral transition in Arabidopsis. DEK3 and DEK4 directly associate with chromatin of related flowering repressors, FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC), and its two homologs, MADS AFFECTING FLOWERING4 (MAF4) and MAF5, to promote their expression. The binding of DEK3 and DEK4 to a histone octamer in vivo affects histone modifications at FLC, MAF4 and MAF5 loci. In addition, DEK3 and DEK4 interact with RNA polymerase II and promote the association of RNA polymerase II with FLC, MAF4 and MAF5 chromatin to promote their expression. Our results show that DEK3 and DEK4 directly interact with chromatin to facilitate the transcription of key flowering repressors and thus prevent precocious flowering in Arabidopsis.

Keywords: Arabidopsis; FLC; MAF; DEK; flowering; histone modifications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis Proteins* / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins* / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis* / genetics
  • Arabidopsis* / metabolism
  • Chromatin
  • Flowers / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • MADS Domain Proteins / genetics
  • MADS Domain Proteins / metabolism


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Chromatin
  • MADS Domain Proteins