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Physiol Plant. 2003 Mar;117(3):305-313.

Phytochrome controlled signalling cascades in higher plants.

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Institute of Plant Biology, Biological Research Centre, Temesvári krt 62., H-6726 Szeged, Hungary Institute of Plant Biology, Agricultural Biotechnological Centre, Szent-Györgyi A. 4, H-2101 Gödöllõ, Hungary.


Plants can sense the changes in the environmental light conditions with highly specialized photoreceptors. Phytochromes are sensitive to red and far-red light and have a dual role in the life of plants. These photoreceptors play an important role in plant growth and development from germination to seed maturation and they are also involved in synchronizing the circadian clock with light/dark cycles. Biochemical, cell biological and genetic studies have been carried out to elucidate the molecular mechanism by which phytochromes transduce light signals. A major step in this process seems to be the light-dependent nuclear import of phytochromes. In the nuclei phytochromes interact with transcription factors and regulate the expression of numerous genes, resulting in complex physiological and developmental responses to light. This review focuses on the recently obtained results leading to the identification of some factors and processes involved in phytochrome signalling.

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