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Characterization of tomato Cycling Dof Factors reveals conserved and new functions in the control of flowering time and abiotic stress responses

Corrales, Alba-Rocío, Nebauer, Sergio G., Carrillo, Laura, Fernández-Nohales, Pedro, Marqués, Jorge, Renau-Morata, Begoña, Granell, Antonio, Pollmann, Stephan, Vicente-Carbajosa, Jesús, Molina, Rosa-Victoria, Medina, Joaquín
Journal of experimental botany 2014 v.65 no.4 pp. 995-1012
Arabidopsis, DNA, drought, flowering, gene overexpression, genes, growth and development, heat, metabolites, nuclear proteins, plant growth, salt stress, salt tolerance, stress response, stress tolerance, tomatoes, transcription (genetics), transcription factors, transcriptional activation
DNA binding with One Finger (DOF) transcription factors are involved in multiple aspects of plant growth and development but their precise roles in abiotic stress tolerance are largely unknown. Here we report a group of five tomato DOF genes, homologous to Arabidopsis Cycling DOF Factors (CDFs), that function as transcriptional regulators involved in responses to drought and salt stress and flowering-time control in a gene-specific manner. SlCDF1–5 are nuclear proteins that display specific binding with different affinities to canonical DNA target sequences and present diverse transcriptional activation capacities in vivo. SlCDF1–5 genes exhibited distinct diurnal expression patterns and were differentially induced in response to osmotic, salt, heat, and low-temperature stresses. Arabidopsis plants overexpressing SlCDF1 or SlCDF3 showed increased drought and salt tolerance. In addition, the expression of various stress-responsive genes, such as COR15, RD29A, and RD10, were differentially activated in the overexpressing lines. Interestingly, overexpression in Arabidopsis of SlCDF3 but not SlCDF1 promotes late flowering through modulation of the expression of flowering control genes such as CO and FT. Overall, our data connect SlCDFs to undescribed functions related to abiotic stress tolerance and flowering time through the regulation of specific target genes and an increase in particular metabolites.