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Cell Res. 2005 Aug;15(8):559-66.

Integration of light signaling with photoperiodic flowering and circadian rhythm.

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Department of Plant Biology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA.


Plants become photosynthetic through de-etiolation, a developmental process regulated by red/far-red light-absorbing phytochromes and blue/ultraviolet A light-absorbing cryptochromes. Genetic screens have identified in the last decade many far-red light signaling mutants and several red and blue light signaling mutants, suggesting the existence of distinct red, far-red, or blue light signaling pathways downstream of phytochromes and cryptochromes. However, genetic screens have also identified mutants with defective de-etiolation responses under multiple wavelengths. Thus, the optimal de-etiolation responses of a plant depend on coordination among the different light signaling pathways. This review intends to discuss several recently identified signaling components that have a potential role to integrate red, far-red, and blue light signalings. This review also highlights the recent discoveries on proteolytic degradation in the desensitization of light signal transmission, and the tight connection of light signaling with photoperiodic flowering and circadian rhythm. Studies on the controlling mechanisms of de-etiolation, photoperiodic flowering, and circadian rhythm have been the fascinating topics in Arabidopsis research. The knowledge obtained from Arabidopsis can be readily applied to food crops and ornamental species, and can be contributed to our general understanding of signal perception and transduction in all organisms.

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