The expression of the floral regulators LEAFY, APETALA1 and AGAMOUS-LIKE8 was examined during light treatments that induced flowering in Arabidopsis, and was compared to time points at which floral determination occurred. Extension of an 8-hour day by either continuous red- or far-red-enriched light induced LEAFY and AGAMOUS-LIKE8 expression within 4 hours. The 4 hours of additional light was sufficient for floral determination only in the far-red-enriched conditions, while 12–16 hours of additional light was required for floral determination in the red-enriched conditions. These results indicate that the induction of floral regulatory genes and induction of flower formation can be uncoupled under certain circumstances. Expression of LEAFY and AGAMOUS-LIKE8 in the shoot apex at the time of floral determination is also consistent with genetic data indicating that these genes are involved in the first steps of the transition from vegetative to reproductive development. In contrast to LEAFY and AGAMOUS-LIKE8, APETALA1 expression was first observed 16 hours after the start of photoinduction. Since this time point was always after floral determination, APETALA1 is an indicator of floral determination.

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