Journal article Open Access

Autonomous Pathway: FLOWERING LOCUS C Repression through an Antisense-Mediated Chromatin-Silencing Mechanism

Wu, Zhe; Fang, Xiaofeng; Zhu, Danling; Dean, Caroline

The timing of flowering is vital for plant reproductive success and is therefore tightly regulated by endogenous and exogenous cues. In summer annual Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) accessions, like Columbia-0, rapid flowering is promoted by repression of the floral repressor FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC). This is through the activity of the autonomous pathway, a group of proteins with diverse functions including RNA 3′-end processing factors, spliceosome components, a transcription elongation factor, and chromatin modifiers. These factors function at the FLC locus linking alternative processing of an antisense long noncoding RNA, called COOLAIR, with delivery of a repressive chromatin environment that affects the transcriptional output. The transcriptional output feeds back to influence the chromatin environment, reinforcing and stabilizing that state. This review summarizes our current knowledge of the autonomous pathway and compares it with similar cotranscriptional mechanisms in other organisms.

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