The flowering hormone florigen accelerates secondary cell wall biogenesis to harmonize vascular maturation with reproductive development

Akiva Shalit-Kaneh, Tamar Eviatar-Ribak, Guy Horev, Naomi Suss, Roni Aloni, Yuval Eshed, Eliezer Lifschitz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Florigen, a proteinaceous hormone, functions as a universal long-range promoter of flowering and concurrently as a generic growth-attenuating hormone across leaf and stem meristems. In flowering plants, the transition from the vegetative phase to the reproductive phase entails the orchestration of new growth coordinates and a global redistribution of resources, signals, and mechanical loads among organs. However, the ultimate cellular processes governing the adaptation of the shoot system to reproduction remain unknown. We hypothesized that if the mechanism for floral induction is universal, then the cellular metabolic mechanisms underlying the conditioning of the shoot system for reproduction would also be universal and may be best regulated by florigen itself. To understand the cellular basis for the vegetative functions of florigen, we explored the radial expansion of tomato stems. RNA-Seq and complementary genetic and histological studies revealed that florigen of endogenous, mobile, or induced origins accelerates the transcription network navigating secondary cell wall biogenesis as a unit, promoting vascular maturation and thereby adapting the shoot system to the developmental needs of the ensuing reproductive phase it had originally set into motion. We then demonstrated that a remarkably stable and broadly distributed florigen promotes MADS and MIF genes, which in turn regulate the rate of vascular maturation and radial expansion of stems irrespective of flowering or florigen level. The dual acceleration of flowering and vascular maturation by florigen provides a paradigm for coordinated regulation of independent global developmental programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16127-16136
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number32
StatePublished - 6 Aug 2019


FundersFunder number
Center centers
Technion Genome Center
United States - Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund
E.L. Wiegand Foundation
University of Connecticut
National Genealogical Society
Israel Science Foundation
Lorry I. Lokey Interdisciplinary Center for Life Sciences and Engineering, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology
Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology


    • Cellular targets
    • Lorigen
    • SCWB
    • Tomato
    • Vegetative functions


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