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The MADS-domain transcription factor APETALA1 (AP1) is a key regulator of Arabidopsis flower development. To understand the molecular mechanisms underlying AP1 function, we identified its target genes during floral initiation using a combination of gene expression profiling and genome-wide binding studies. Many of its targets encode transcriptional regulators, including known floral repressors. The latter genes are down-regulated by AP1, suggesting that it initiates floral development by abrogating the inhibitory effects of these genes. Although AP1 acts predominantly as a transcriptional repressor during the earliest stages of flower development, at more advanced stages it also activates regulatory genes required for floral organ formation, indicating a dynamic mode of action. Our results further imply that AP1 orchestrates floral initiation by integrating growth, patterning, and hormonal pathways.
↵* These authors contributed equally to this work.