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Natural variation in cross-talk between glucosinolates and onset of flowering in Arabidopsis

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Naturally variable regulatory networks control different biological processes including reproduction and defense. This variation within regulatory networks enables plants to optimize defense and reproduction in different environments. In this study we investigate the ability of two enzyme-encoding genes in the glucosinolate pathway, AOP2 and AOP3, to affect glucosinolate accumulation and flowering time. We have introduced the two highly similar enzymes into two different AOP (null) accessions, Col-0 and Cph-0, and found that the genes differ in their ability to affect glucosinolate levels and flowering time across the accessions. This indicated that the different glucosinolates produced by AOP2 and AOP3 serve specific regulatory roles in controlling these phenotypes. While the changes in glucosinolate levels were similar in both accessions, the effect on flowering time was dependent on the genetic background pointing to natural variation in cross-talk between defense chemistry and onset of flowering. This variation likely reflects an adaptation to survival in different environments.

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