Salk Institute

Technologies Available for Licensing

Modulation of Flowering Time by the PFT1 Locus

Inventors: Joanne Chory and Pablo Diego Cerdan
Potential Uses: Plant Biology, Agriculture, Horticulture
A gene useful in protecting crops from shade-avoidance resulting in increased yields

When plants are grown at high densities in agricultural fields, the presence of neighboring plants decreases the red to far-red light ratios triggering shade-avoidance responses. These include stem elongation , restricted leaf development and early flowering and decreased seed set. The result is decreased plant biomass and decreased seed yield. We have isolated and characterized mutants of the gene PFT1. Plants expressing these mutants lack the protein called "phytochrome and flowering time 1"(pft1). This protein is part of a distinct shade-avoidance pathway. Crossbreeding experiments with mutants in the light sensing molecule phytochrome B revealed that the pft1 protein acted "downstream" of phytochrome B to regulate the expression of the gene called "flowering locus T" FT which governs flowering time. The pft1 protein is localized in the plant cell nucleus and is a presumed gene activator. Manipulating pft1 levels can be used to avoid productivity losses associated with shade avoidance as well as a tool to control flowering time.

Salk No: S02023
Patent Status: U.S. Patent Application published as WO04/113499
Publications: Nature 423, 881-885, June 19, 2003
License Terms: Non-exclusive and Exclusive by Field of Use Licenses Negotiable
Contact: Michelle Booden, Ph.D., Director of Licensing, 858.453.4100 x1612,

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