Arabidopsis CHLOROPLAST IMPORT APPARATUS 2 (CIA2) and its paralogous protein CIA2-LIKE (CIL) are nuclear transcription factors containing a C-terminal CCT motif. CIA2 promotes the expression of nuclear genes encoding chloroplast-localized translocons and ribosomal proteins, thereby increasing the efficiency of protein import and synthesis in chloroplasts. We have previously reported that CIA2 and CIL form a homodimer or heterodimer through their C-terminal sequences and interact with other nuclear proteins, such as CONSTANS (CO), via their N-terminal sequences, but the function of CIL had remained unclear. In this study, we verified through transgenic cia2 mutant plants expressing the CIL coding sequence that CIL is partially functionally redundant to CIA2 during vegetative growth. We also compared phenotypes and gene expression profiles of wildtype Col-0, cia2, cil, and cia2/cil mutants. Our results indicate that CIA2 and CIL coordinate chloroplast biogenesis and function mainly by upregulating the expression of the nuclear factor GOLDEN2-LIKE 1 (GLK1) and chloroplast transcription-, translation-, protein import-, and photosynthesis-related genes, with CIA2 playing a more crucial role. Furthermore, we compared flowering phenotypes in single, double, and triple mutant plants of co, cia2, and cil. We found that CIA2 and CIL participate in modulating long-day floral development. Notably, CIA2 increases flower number and height of the inflorescence main axis, whereas CIL promotes flowering.
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