Functional Divergence of the Arabidopsis Florigen-Interacting bZIP Transcription Factors FD and FDP.
Flowering of many plant species depends on interactions between basic leucine zipper (bZIP) transcription factors and systemically transported florigen proteins. Members of the genus Arabidopsis contain two of these bZIPs, FD and FDP, which we show have largely complementary expression patterns in shoot apices before and during flowering. CRISPR-Cas9-induced null mutants for FDP flower slightly earlier than wild-type, whereas fd mutants are late flowering. Identical G-box sequences are enriched at FD and FDP binding sites, but only FD binds to genes involved in flowering and only fd alters their transcription. However, both proteins bind to genes involved in responses to the phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA), which controls developmental and stress responses. Many of these genes are differentially expressed in both fd and fdp mutant seedlings, which also show reduced ABA sensitivity. Thus, florigen-interacting bZIPs have distinct functions in flowering dependent on their expression patterns and, at earlier stages in development, play common roles in phytohormone signaling.