Plants commonly rely on photoperiodism to control flowering time. Rice development before floral initiation is divided into two successive phases: the basic vegetative growth phase (BVP, photoperiod-insensitive phase) and the photoperiod-sensitive phase (PSP). The mechanism responsible for the transition of rice plants into their photoperiod-sensitive state remains elusive. Here, we show that se13, a mutation detected in the extremely early flowering mutant X61 is a nonsense mutant gene of OsHY2, which encodes phytochromobilin (PÎ ▪B) synthase, as evidenced by spectrometric and photomorphogenic analyses. We demonstrated that some flowering time and circadian clock genes harbor different expression profiles in BVP as opposed to PSP, and that this phenomenon is chiefly caused by different phytochrome-mediated light signal requirements: in BVP, phytochrome-mediated light signals directly suppress Ehd2, while in PSP, phytochrome-mediated light signals activate Hd1 and Ghd7 expression through the circadian clock genes' expression. These findings indicate that light receptivity through the phytochromes is different between two distinct developmental phases corresponding to the BVP and PSP in the rice flowering process. Our results suggest that these differences might be involved in the acquisition of photoperiod sensitivity in rice.
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