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Dev Biol. 2003 Aug 15;260(2):289-97.

From seed to seed: the role of photoreceptors in Arabidopsis development.

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Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, Yale University, 165 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06520-8104, USA.


As sessile organisms, plants have evolved a multitude of developmental responses to cope with the ever-changing environmental conditions that challenge the plant throughout its life cycle. Of the many environmental cues that regulate plant development, light is probably the most important. From determining the developmental pattern of the emerging seedling, to influencing the organization of organelles to best maximize energy available for photosynthesis, light has dramatic effects on development during all stages of plant life. In plants, three classes of photoreceptors that mediate light perception have been characterized at the molecular level. The phytochromes recognize light in the red portion of the spectrum, while cryptochromes and phototropins perceive blue and UVA light. In this review, we discuss the different aspects of development that are regulated by these photoreceptors in the model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana and how the phytochromes, cryptochromes, and phototropins bring about changes in development seen in the growing plant.

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