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Plant Cell. 2004 Jun;16(6):1433-45. Epub 2004 May 21.

Constitutive photomorphogenesis 1 and multiple photoreceptors control degradation of phytochrome interacting factor 3, a transcription factor required for light signaling in Arabidopsis.

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  • 1Biologie II/Institut für Botanik, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany D-79104.


Light, in a quality- and quantity-dependent fashion, induces nuclear import of the plant photoreceptors phytochrome, promotes interaction of phytochrome A (phyA) and phyB with transcription factors including phytochrome interacting factor 3 (PIF3), and is thought to trigger a transcriptional cascade to regulate the expression of approximately 2500 genes in Arabidopsis thaliana. Here, we show that controlled degradation of the transcription factor PIF3 is a major regulatory step in light signaling. We demonstrate that accumulation of PIF3 in the nucleus in dark requires constitutive photomorphogenesis 1 (COP1), a negative regulator of photomorphogenesis, and show that red (R) and far-red light (FR) induce rapid degradation of the PIF3 protein. This process is controlled by the concerted action of the R/FR absorbing phyA, phyB, and phyD photoreceptors, and it is not affected by COP1. Rapid light-induced degradation of PIF3 indicates that interaction of PIF3 with these phytochrome species is transient. In addition, we provide evidence that the poc1 mutant, a postulated PIF3 overexpressor that displays hypersensitivity to R but not to FR, lacks detectable amounts of the PIF3 protein. Thus, we propose that PIF3 acts transiently, and its major function is to mediate phytochrome-induced signaling during the developmental switch from skotomorphogenesis to photomorphogenesis and/or dark to light transitions.

Copyright 2004 American Society of Plant Biologists

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