Crop Biotech Update

Study Finds that Sugar Influences Onset of Flowering

February 13, 2013

Plant flowering is affected by light and temperature, but scientists found that sufficient energy resources is also needed for the intensive process of growing flowers. The team from Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam and the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen report that the sugar molecule trehalose-6-phosphate (T6P) takes on a key role in monitoring plants' energy reserves in thale cress.

Flower formation is an energy-intensive process and this energy must be available to the plant in the form of sugar. Vanessa Wahl, lead author of the report published in Science said, "Since plants contain only minute amounts of T6P, it has been suspected that it could be a signaling molecule." Wahl and her team could delay flowering by blocking the production of T6P, or even stop the process. The process made it possible to show that T6P is indispensable for the production of flowering locus T (FT) gene.

For more details, read the news release available at http://www.mpg.de/6898274/sugar-flowering. The results of the study published in the February 8 edition of the journal Science is available at: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/339/6120/704.