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The FLOWERING LOCUS T 5bpositively regulates photoperiodic flowering and improves the geographical adaptation of soybean

Qiang Su, Li Chen, Yupeng Cai, Liwei Wang, Yingying Chen, Jialing Zhang, Luping Liu, Yan Zhang, Shan Yuan, Yang Gao, Shi Sun, Tianfu Han, Wensheng Hou. 

Plant, Cell & Environment, 2023, IF 7.947



Plants can sense the photoperiod to flower at the right time. As a sensitive short-day crop, soybean (Glycine max) flowering varies greatly depending on photoperiods, affecting yields. Adaptive changes in soybeans rely on variable genetic loci such as E1 and FLOWERING LOCUS T orthologs. However, the precise coordination and control of these molecular components remain largely unknown. In this study, we demonstrate that GmFT5b functions as a crucial factor for soybean flowering. Overexpressed or mutated GmFT5b resulted in significantly early or later flowering, altering expression profiles for several downstream flowering-related genes under a long-day photoperiod. GmFT5b interacts with the transcription factor GmFDL15, suggesting transcriptional tuning of flowering time regulatory genes via the GmFT5b/GmFDL15 complex. Notably, GmFT5a partially compensated for GmFT5b function, as ft5a ft5b double mutants exhibited an enhanced late-flowering phenotype. Association mapping revealed that GmFT5b was associated with flowering time, maturity, and geographical distribution of soybean accessions, all associated with the E1 locus. Therefore, GmFT5b is a valuable target for enhancing regional adaptability. Natural variants or multiple mutants in this region can be utilized to generate optimized soybean varieties with precise flowering times.