The control of seed dormancy by ethylene has been well studied, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are not fully understood. Here, we report the characterization of the Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) mutant reduced dormancy 3 (rdo3) and the cloning of the underlying gene. We demonstrate that rdo3 is a loss-of-function mutant of the ethylene receptor ETHYLENE RESPONSE1 (ETR1). ETR1 controls seed dormancy partially through the DELAY OF GERMINATION1 (DOG1) pathway. Molecular and genetic analyses demonstrated that ETHYLENE RESPONSE FACTOR12 (ERF12) is involved in the regulation of seed dormancy downstream of ETR1. ERF12 interacts with TOPLESS (TPL) and genetically requires TPL to function. ERF12 and TPL repress the expression of DOG1 by occupying its promoter. Thus, we identified the dormancy pathway ETR1-ERF12-TPL-DOG1 and provide mechanistic insights into the regulation of seed dormancy by linking the ethylene and DOG1 pathways.

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