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In inducing photoperiodic conditions, plants produce a signal dubbed "florigen" in leaves. Florigen moves through the phloem to the shoot apical meristem (SAM) where it induces flowering. In Arabidopsis, the FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) protein acts as a component of this phloem-mobile signal. However whether the transportable FT mRNA also contributes to systemic florigen signalling remains to be elucidated. Using non-conventional approaches that exploit virus-induced RNA silencing and meristem exclusion of virus infection, we demonstrated that the ArabidopsisFT mRNA, independent of the FT protein, can move into the SAM. Viral ectopic expression of a non-translatable FT mRNA promoted earlier flowering in the short-day (SD) Nicotiana tabacum Maryland Mammoth tobacco in SD. These data suggest a possible role for FT mRNA in systemic floral signalling, and also demonstrate that cis-transportation of cellular mRNA into SAM and meristem exclusion of pathogenic RNAs are two mechanistically distinct processes.

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Sci Rep

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Arabidopsis, Arabidopsis Proteins, Flowers, RNA, Messenger, Signal Transduction