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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 Oct 29;93(22):12066-71.

From seed germination to flowering, light controls plant development via the pigment phytochrome.

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Plant Biology Laboratory, Salk Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Plant growth and development are regulated by interactions between the environment and endogenous developmental programs. Of the various environmental factors controlling plant development, light plays an especially important role, in photosynthesis, in seasonal and diurnal time sensing, and as a cue for altering developmental pattern. Recently, several laboratories have devised a variety of genetic screens using Arabidopsis thaliana to dissect the signal transduction pathways of the various photoreceptor systems. Genetic analysis demonstrates that light responses are not simply endpoints of linear signal transduction pathways but are the result of the integration of information from a variety of photoreceptors through a complex network of interacting signaling components. These signaling components include the red/far-red light receptors, phytochromes, at least one blue light receptor, and negative regulatory genes (DET, COP, and FUS) that act downstream from the photoreceptors in the nucleus. In addition, a steroid hormone, brassinolide, also plays a role in light-regulated development and gene expression in Arabidopsis. These molecular and genetic data are allowing us to construct models of the mechanisms by which light controls development and gene expression in Arabidopsis. In the future, this knowledge can be used as a framework for understanding how all land plants respond to changes in their environment.

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