RFI2, a RING-domain zinc finger protein, negatively regulates CONSTANS expression and photoperiodic flowering

Mingjie Chen, Min Ni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


The red and far-red light-absorbing phytochromes interact with the circadian clock, a central oscillator that sustains a 24-h period, to measure accurately seasonal changes in day-length and regulate the expression of several key flowering genes. The interactions and subsequent signalling steps upstream of the flowering genes such as CONSTANS (CO) and FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) remain largely unknown. We report here that a photomorphogenic mutant, red and far-red insensitive 2-1 ( rfi2-1), flowered early particularly under long days. The rfi2-1 mutation also enhanced the expression of CO and FT under day/night cycles or constant light. Both co-2 and gigantea-2 (gi-2) were epistatic to rfi2-1 in their flowering responses. The gi-2 mutation was also epistatic to the rfi2-1 mutation in the expression of CO and hypocotyl elongation. However, the rfi2-1 mutation did not affect the expression of GI, a gene that mediates between the circadian clock and the expression of CO. Like many other flowering genes, the expression of RFI2 oscillated under day/night cycles and was rhythmic under constant light. The amplitude of the rhythmic expression of RFI2 was significantly reduced in phyB-9 or lhy-20 plants, and was also affected by the gi-2 mutation. As previously reported, the gi-2 mutation affects the period length and amplitude of CCA1 and LHY expression, and GI may act through a feedback loop to maintain a proper circadian function. We propose a regulatory step in which RFI2 represses the expression of CO, whereas GI may maintain the proper expression of RFI2 through its positive action on the circadian clock. The regulatory step serves to tune the circadian outputs that control the expression of CO and photoperiodic flowering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)823-833
Number of pages11
JournalPlant Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Photoperiodic flowering
  • RFI2
  • RING-domain zinc finger


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