Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay modulates Arabidopsis flowering time via the SET DOMAIN GROUP 40-FLOWERING LOCUS C module

Zeeshan Nasim, Muhammad Fahim, Hocheol Hwang, Hendry Susila, Suhyun Jin, Geummin Youn, Ji Hoon Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) surveillance system clears aberrant mRNAs from the cell, thus preventing the accumulation of truncated proteins. Although loss of the core NMD proteins UP-FRAMESHIFT1 (UPF1) and UPF3 leads to late flowering in Arabidopsis, the underlying mechanism remains elusive. Here, we showed that mutations in UPF1 and UPF3 cause temperature-and photoperiod-independent late flowering. Expression analyses revealed high FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC) mRNA levels in upf mutants; in agreement with this, the flc mutation strongly suppressed the late flowering of upf mutants. Vernalization accelerated flowering of upf mutants in a temperature-independent manner. FLC transcript levels rose in wild-type plants upon NMD inhibition. In upf mutants, we observed increased enrichment of H3K4me3 and reduced enrichment of H3K27me3 in FLC chromatin. Transcriptome analyses showed that SET DOMAIN GROUP 40 (SDG40) mRNA levels increased in upf mutants, and the SDG40 transcript underwent NMD-coupled alternative splicing, suggesting that SDG40 affects flowering time in upf mutants. Furthermore, NMD directly regulated SDG40 transcript stability. The sdg40 mutants showed decreased H3K4me3 and increased H3K27me3 levels in FLC chromatin, flowered early, and rescued the late flowering of upf mutants. Taken together, these results suggest that NMD epigenetically regulates FLC through SDG40 to modulate flowering time in Arabidopsis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7049-7066
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of experimental botany
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Oct 26

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a National Research Foundation (NRF) of Korea grant funded by the Korean government (NRF-2017R1A2B3009624 to JHA) and Samsung Science and Technology Foundation under Project Number SSTF-BA1602-12.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology. All rights reserved.


  • Epigenetics
  • FLC
  • NMD
  • SDG40
  • UPF
  • flowering
  • histone
  • methylase
  • methyltransferase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay modulates Arabidopsis flowering time via the SET DOMAIN GROUP 40-FLOWERING LOCUS C module'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this