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Cell. 2000 Nov 22;103(5):815-27.

The C termini of Arabidopsis cryptochromes mediate a constitutive light response.

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  • 1Plant Science Institute Department of Biology University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Cryptochrome blue light photoreceptors share sequence similarity to photolyases, flavoproteins that mediate light-dependent DNA repair. However, cryptochromes lack photolyase activity and are characterized by distinguishing C-terminal domains. Here we show that the signaling mechanism of Arabidopsis cryptochrome is mediated through the C terminus. On fusion with beta-glucuronidase (GUS), both the Arabidopsis CRY1 C-terminal domain (CCT1) and the CRY2 C-terminal domain (CCT2) mediate a constitutive light response. This constitutive photomorphogenic (COP) phenotype was not observed for mutants of cct1 corresponding to previously described cry1 alleles. We propose that the C-terminal domain of Arabidopsis cryptochrome is maintained in an inactive state in the dark. Irradiation with blue light relieves this repression, presumably through an intra- or intermolecular redox reaction mediated through the flavin bound to the N-terminal photolyase-like domain.

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