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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Feb 18;100(4):2140-5. Epub 2003 Feb 10.

Regulation of photoperiodic flowering by Arabidopsis photoreceptors.

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  • 1Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


Photoperiodism is a day-length-dependent seasonal change of physiological or developmental activities that is widely found in plants and animals. Photoperiodic flowering in plants is regulated by photosensory receptors including the red/far-red light-receptor phytochromes and the blue/UV-A light-receptor cryptochromes. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the specific roles of individual photoreceptors have remained poorly understood. Here, we report a study of the day-length-dependent response of cryptochrome 2 (cry2) and phytochrome A (phyA) and their role as day-length sensors in Arabidopsis. The protein abundance of cry2 and phyA showed a diurnal rhythm in plants grown in short-day but not in plants grown in long-day. The short-day-specific diurnal rhythm of cry2 is determined primarily by blue light-dependent cry2 turnover. Consistent with a proposition that cry2 and phyA are the major day-length sensors in Arabidopsis, we show that phyA mediates far-red light promotion of flowering with modes of action similar to that of cry2. Based on these results and a finding that the photoperiodic responsiveness of plants depends on light quality, a model is proposed to explain how individual phytochromes and cryptochromes work together to confer photoperiodic responsiveness in Arabidopsis.

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