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.