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GmNF-YC4 delays soybean flowering and maturation by directly repressing GmFT2a and GmFT5a expression

Yupeng Cai, Li Chen, Xiaoqian Liu, Weiwei Yao, Wensheng Hou.

Journal of Integrative Plant Biology; 2024; IF 11.40



Flowering time and growth period are key agronomic traits which directly affect soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) adaptation to diverse latitudes and farming systems. The FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) homologs GmFT2a and GmFT5a integrate multiple flowering regulation pathways and significantly advance flowering and maturity in soybean. Pinpointing the genes responsible for regulating GmFT2a and GmFT5a will improve our understanding of the molecular mechanisms governing growth period in soybean. In this study, we identified the Nuclear Factor Y-C (NFY-C) protein GmNF-YC4 as a novel flowering suppressor in soybean under long-day (LD) conditions. GmNF-YC4 delays flowering and maturation by directly repressing the expression of GmFT2a and GmFT5a. In addition, we found that a strong selective sweep event occurred in the chromosomal region harboring the GmNF-YC4 gene during soybean domestication. The GmNF-YC4Hap3 allele was mainly found in wild soybean (Glycine soja Siebold & Zucc.) and has been eliminated from G. max landraces and improved cultivars, which predominantly contain the GmNF-YC4Hap1 allele. Furthermore, the Gmnf-yc4 mutants displayed notably accelerated flowering and maturation under LD conditions. These alleles may prove to be valuable genetic resources for enhancing soybean adaptability to higher latitudes.