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Gene Review

LFY  -  protein LEAFY

Arabidopsis thaliana

Synonyms: LEAFY, LEAFY 3, LFY3, MAC9.13, MAC9_13
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High impact information on LFY

  • Floral meristem identity genes LEAFY (LFY) and APETALA1 (AP1) promote establishment and maintenance of floral identity in newly formed floral primordia [1].
  • We present evidence that AGL24 is an early target of transcriptional repression by LFY and AP1 [1].
  • FT, together with LFY, promotes flowering and is positively regulated by CO [2].
  • A photoperiod-dependent pathway relays signals from photoreceptors to a transcription factor gene, CONSTANS (CO), which activates downstream meristem identity genes such as LEAFY (LFY) [2].
  • Elevated AGL19 levels activate LFY and AP1 and eventually cause flowering [3].

Biological context of LFY

  • The floral meristem identity gene LEAFY (LFY) plays a role in the initiation phase through at least two pathways, which differ from each other in the involvement of two homeotic genes, APETALA3 (AP3) and PISTILLATA (PI) [4].
  • To distinguish regulatory versus functional changes within the LcrLFY locus, reciprocal chimeric transgenes between LcrLFY and LFY were constructed [5].
  • Experiments using a steroid-inducible form of LFY show that, in contrast to its direct transcriptional activation of other floral homeotic genes, LFY acts in both a direct and an indirect manner to regulate AP3 expression [6].
  • Among 29 Brassicaceae species, several other motifs, but not the LFY and WUS binding sites identified previously, are largely invariant [7].
  • Here we show that the additional LFY targets include the APETALA1-related factor, CAULIFLOWER, as well as three transcription factors and two putative signal transduction pathway components [8].

Anatomical context of LFY

  • This suggests that, unlike FLO and LFY, which specify determinacy only during floral development, the NFL genes act to specify determinacy in the progenitor cells for both flowers and leaves [9].
  • We have identified two FLO/LFY genes, PpLFY1 and PpLFY2, that regulate the first cell division after formation of the zygote in the moss Physcomitrella patens [10].

Associations of LFY with chemical compounds

  • As expected, reporter activity in a pattern typical for the LFY promoter was ethanol dependent [11].

Regulatory relationships of LFY

  • AP3 and PI expression are positively regulated by the LEAFY (LFY) and UNUSUAL FLORAL ORGANS (UFO) genes [12].
  • Double mutants between ft-1 or fwa-1 and lfy-6 completely lack flowerlike structures, indicating that both FWA and FT act redundantly with LFY to control AP1 [13].
  • LMI1 acts together with LFY to activate CAL expression [14].

Other interactions of LFY

  • We propose that UFO and LFY are jointly required in the inflorescence meristem to both promote floral meristem development and inhibit, in a non-cell autonomous manner, growth of the bract [15].
  • In contrast, the coding regions of TFL1 and LFY display a significant reduction in nucleotide variation, suggesting that these sequences have been subjected to a recent adaptive sweep [16].
  • Since phyB did not change the GA responsiveness of the LFY promoter and suppressed the lack of flowering of severe GA-deficient mutants under short days, we propose that PHYB modulates flowering time at least partially through a GA-independent pathway [17].
  • Here we describe Impatiens homologues of LFY, TFL1 and AG (IbLFY, IbTFL1 and IbAG) that are highly conserved at a sequence level and demonstrate homologous functions when expressed ectopically in transgenic Arabidopsis [18].
  • In Arabidopsis, several genetic pathways controlling the floral transition (flowering) are integrated at the transcriptional regulation of FT, LFY and SOC1 [19].

Analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic context of LFY

  • To test this, we monitored the gene expression changes that occur in tissue culture after activation of LFY using a flower-specific cDNA microarray [20].
  • Furthermore, in situ hybridization analysis indicates that LFY levels are drastically reduced at the apex of ld ap1 cal plants after bolting [21].
  • This protocol coupling with single-cell reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (SC-RT-PCR) has been used to monitor LFY and AP2 expression in individual cells from the shoot apical meristem, leaf, root, and stem of Arabidopsis, simultaneously [22].
  • For the genus Ophrys L. (Orchidaceae), the LFY/FLO gene contains an intron of 2 kb size and is the most useful marker identified, useful even within close related species complex, where other classic genes (ITS, cpDNA genes, etc.) are useless [Ref].


  1. Repression of AGAMOUS-LIKE 24 is a crucial step in promoting flower development. Yu, H., Ito, T., Wellmer, F., Meyerowitz, E.M. Nat. Genet. (2004) [Pubmed]
  2. A pair of related genes with antagonistic roles in mediating flowering signals. Kobayashi, Y., Kaya, H., Goto, K., Iwabuchi, M., Araki, T. Science (1999) [Pubmed]
  3. Polycomb-group proteins repress the floral activator AGL19 in the FLC-independent vernalization pathway. Schönrock, N., Bouveret, R., Leroy, O., Borghi, L., Köhler, C., Gruissem, W., Hennig, L. Genes Dev. (2006) [Pubmed]
  4. Regulation of SUP expression identifies multiple regulators involved in arabidopsis floral meristem development. Sakai, H., Krizek, B.A., Jacobsen, S.E., Meyerowitz, E.M. Plant Cell (2000) [Pubmed]
  5. Evolutionary divergence of LFY function in the mustards Arabidopsis thaliana and Leavenworthia crassa. Sliwinski, M.K., White, M.A., Maizel, A., Weigel, D., Baum, D.A. Plant Mol. Biol. (2006) [Pubmed]
  6. Regulation of APETALA3 floral homeotic gene expression by meristem identity genes. Lamb, R.S., Hill, T.A., Tan, Q.K., Irish, V.F. Development (2002) [Pubmed]
  7. Regulatory elements of the floral homeotic gene AGAMOUS identified by phylogenetic footprinting and shadowing. Hong, R.L., Hamaguchi, L., Busch, M.A., Weigel, D. Plant Cell (2003) [Pubmed]
  8. Genomic identification of direct target genes of LEAFY. William, D.A., Su, Y., Smith, M.R., Lu, M., Baldwin, D.A., Wagner, D. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2004) [Pubmed]
  9. NFL, the tobacco homolog of FLORICAULA and LEAFY, is transcriptionally expressed in both vegetative and floral meristems. Kelly, A.J., Bonnlander, M.B., Meeks-Wagner, D.R. Plant Cell (1995) [Pubmed]
  10. Diversification of gene function: homologs of the floral regulator FLO/LFY control the first zygotic cell division in the moss Physcomitrella patens. Tanahashi, T., Sumikawa, N., Kato, M., Hasebe, M. Development (2005) [Pubmed]
  11. Temporally and spatially controlled induction of gene expression in Arabidopsis thaliana. Maizel, A., Weigel, D. Plant J. (2004) [Pubmed]
  12. The ASK1 gene regulates B function gene expression in cooperation with UFO and LEAFY in Arabidopsis. Zhao, D., Yu, Q., Chen, M., Ma, H. Development (2001) [Pubmed]
  13. Different roles of flowering-time genes in the activation of floral initiation genes in Arabidopsis. Ruiz-García, L., Madueño, F., Wilkinson, M., Haughn, G., Salinas, J., Martínez-Zapater, J.M. Plant Cell (1997) [Pubmed]
  14. The LEAFY target LMI1 is a meristem identity regulator and acts together with LEAFY to regulate expression of CAULIFLOWER. Saddic, L.A., Huvermann, B., Bezhani, S., Su, Y., Winter, C.M., Kwon, C.S., Collum, R.P., Wagner, D. Development (2006) [Pubmed]
  15. UFO in the Arabidopsis inflorescence apex is required for floral-meristem identity and bract suppression. Hepworth, S.R., Klenz, J.E., Haughn, G.W. Planta (2006) [Pubmed]
  16. Contrasting evolutionary forces in the Arabidopsis thaliana floral developmental pathway. Olsen, K.M., Womack, A., Garrett, A.R., Suddith, J.I., Purugganan, M.D. Genetics (2002) [Pubmed]
  17. Independent regulation of flowering by phytochrome B and gibberellins in Arabidopsis. Blázquez, M.A., Weigel, D. Plant Physiol. (1999) [Pubmed]
  18. LEAFY, TERMINAL FLOWER1 and AGAMOUS are functionally conserved but do not regulate terminal flowering and floral determinacy in Impatiens balsamina. Ordidge, M., Chiurugwi, T., Tooke, F., Battey, N.H. Plant J. (2005) [Pubmed]
  19. TWIN SISTER OF FT (TSF) acts as a floral pathway integrator redundantly with FT. Yamaguchi, A., Kobayashi, Y., Goto, K., Abe, M., Araki, T. Plant Cell Physiol. (2005) [Pubmed]
  20. Floral induction in tissue culture: a system for the analysis of LEAFY-dependent gene regulation. Wagner, D., Wellmer, F., Dilks, K., William, D., Smith, M.R., Kumar, P.P., Riechmann, J.L., Greenland, A.J., Meyerowitz, E.M. Plant J. (2004) [Pubmed]
  21. The Arabidopsis flowering-time gene LUMINIDEPENDENS is expressed primarily in regions of cell proliferation and encodes a nuclear protein that regulates LEAFY expression. Aukerman, M.J., Lee, I., Weigel, D., Amasino, R.M. Plant J. (1999) [Pubmed]
  22. Determination of single-cell gene expression in Arabidopsis by capillary electrophoresis with laser induced fluorescence detection. Liu, X., Ma, L., Zhang, J.F., Lu, Y.T. J. Chromatogr. B Analyt. Technol. Biomed. Life Sci. (2004) [Pubmed]
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