Plant Physiol. 191 (1) 479-495 [2023-01-02; online 2022-11-05]
To maximize reproductive success, flowering plants must correctly time entry and exit from the reproductive phase. While much is known about mechanisms that regulate initiation of flowering, end-of-flowering remains largely uncharacterized. End-of-flowering in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) consists of quasi-synchronous arrest of inflorescences, but it is unclear how arrest is correctly timed with respect to environmental stimuli and reproductive success. Here, we showed that Arabidopsis inflorescence arrest is a complex developmental phenomenon, which includes the arrest of the inflorescence meristem (IM), coupled with a separable "floral arrest" of all unopened floral primordia; these events occur well before visible inflorescence arrest. We showed that global inflorescence removal delays both IM and floral arrest, but that local fruit removal only delays floral arrest, emphasizing their separability. We tested whether cytokinin regulates inflorescence arrest, and found that cytokinin signaling dynamics mirror IM activity, while cytokinin treatment can delay both IM and floral arrest. We further showed that gain-of-function cytokinin receptor mutants can delay IM and floral arrest; conversely, loss-of-function mutants prevented the extension of flowering in response to inflorescence removal. Collectively, our data suggest that the dilution of cytokinin among an increasing number of sink organs leads to end-of-flowering in Arabidopsis by triggering IM and floral arrest.