Regulation of shoot meristem shape by photoperiodic signaling and phytohormones during floral induction of Arabidopsis

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Floral transition, the onset of plant reproduction, involves changes in shape and identity of the shoot apical meristem (SAM). The change in shape, termed doming, occurs early during floral transition when it is induced by environmental cues such as changes in day-length, but how it is regulated at the cellular level is unknown. We defined the morphological and cellular features of the SAM during floral transition of Arabidopsis thaliana. Both cell number and size increased during doming, and these changes were partially controlled by the gene regulatory network (GRN) that triggers flowering. Furthermore, dynamic modulation of expression of gibberellin (GA) biosynthesis and catabolism enzymes at the SAM contributed to doming. Expression of these enzymes was regulated by two MADS-domain transcription factors implicated in flowering. We provide a temporal and spatial framework for integrating the flowering GRN with cellular changes at the SAM and highlight the role of local regulation of GA.