ABSTRACT

We describe a previously unreported macroscopic Arabidopsis organ, the cantil, named for its ‘cantilever’ function of holding the pedicel at a distance from the stem. Cantil development is strongest at the first nodes after the vegetative to reproductive inflorescence transition; cantil magnitude and frequency decrease acropetally. Cantils develop in wild-type Arabidopsis accessions (e.g. Col-0, Ws and Di-G) as a consequence of delayed flowering in short days; cantil formation is observed in long days when flowering is delayed by null mutation of the floral regulator FLOWERING LOCUS T. The receptor-like kinase ERECTA is a global positive regulator of cantil formation; therefore, cantils never form in the Arabidopsis strain Ler. ERECTA functions genetically upstream of heterotrimeric G proteins. Cantil expressivity is repressed by the specific heterotrimeric complex subunits GPA1, AGB1 and AGG3, which also play independent roles: GPA1 suppresses distal spurs at cantil termini, while AGB1 and AGG3 suppress ectopic epidermal rippling. These G protein mutant traits are recapitulated in long-day flowering gpa1-3 ft-10 plants, demonstrating that cantils, spurs and ectopic rippling occur as a function of delayed phase transition, rather than as a function of photoperiod per se.

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