Photoreceptor effects on plant biomass, resource allocation, and metabolic state


Plants sense the light environment through an ensemble of photoreceptors. Members of the phytochrome class of light receptors are known to play a critical role in seedling establishment, and are among the best-characterized plant signaling components. Phytochromes also regulate adult plant growth; however, our knowledge of this process is rather fragmented. This study demonstrates that phytochrome controls carbon allocation and biomass production in the developing plant. Phytochrome mutants have a reduced CO2 uptake, yet overaccumulate daytime sucrose and starch. This finding suggests that even though carbon fixation is impeded, the available carbon resources are not fully used for growth during the day. Supporting this notion, phytochrome depletion alters the proportion of day:night growth. In addition, phytochrome loss leads to sizeable reductions in overall growth, dry weight, total protein levels, and the expression of CELLULOSE SYNTHASE-LIKE genes. Because cellulose and protein are major constituents of plant biomass, our data point to an important role for phytochrome in regulating these fundamental components of plant productivity. We show that phytochrome loss impacts core metabolism, leading to elevated levels of tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates, amino acids, sugar derivatives, and notably the stress metabolites proline and raffinose. Furthermore, the already growth-retarded phytochrome mutants are less responsive to growth-inhibiting abiotic stresses and have elevated expression of stress marker genes. This coordinated response appears to divert resources from energetically costly biomass production to improve resilience. In nature, this strategy may be activated in phytochrome-disabling, vegetation-dense habitats to enhance survival in potentially resource-limiting conditions.

Citation: Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 113(27) : 7667

Date Published: 5th Jul 2016

Authors: Deyue Yang, Daniel D. Seaton, Johanna Krahmer, Karen J. Halliday

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Yang, D., Seaton, D. D., Krahmer, J., & Halliday, K. J. (2016). Photoreceptor effects on plant biomass, resource allocation, and metabolic state. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(27), 7667–7672.

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Created: 6th Oct 2017 at 15:57

Last updated: 6th Oct 2017 at 16:01

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