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Plant Cell. 1997 Aug;9(8):1317-26.

A deletion in the PHYD gene of the Arabidopsis Wassilewskija ecotype defines a role for phytochrome D in red/far-red light sensing.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706, USA.


The PHYD gene of the Wassilewskija (Ws) ecotype of Arabidopsis contains a 14-bp deletion (the phyD-1 mutation) beginning at amino acid 29 of the reading frame, resulting in translation termination at a nonsense codon 138 nucleotides downstream of the deletion end point. Immunoblot analyses showed that Ws lacks phyD but contains normal levels of phyA, phyB, and phyC. By backcrossing into the Ws and Landsberg erecta genetic backgrounds, we constructed sibling pairs of PHYD+ and phyD-1 lines and of phyB- PHYD+ and phyB- phyD- lines. Hypocotyl lengths after growth under white or red light increased sequentially in strains that were B+D+, B+D-, B-D+, and B-D-. In the Ws genetic background, an increase in petiole length, a reduction in cotyledon area and in anthocyanin accumulation in seedling stems, a diminished effect of an end-of-day pulse of far-red light on hypocotyl elongation, and a decrease in the number of rosette leaves at the onset of flowering were also seen sequentially in these lines. Thus, phyD, which is approximately 80% identical in amino acid sequence to phyB, acts in conjunction with phyB in regulating many shade avoidance responses. The existence of the apparently naturally occurring phyD-1 mutation indicates that phyD is not essential in some natural environments.

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