Plant phototropism is an adaptive response to changes in light direction, quantity, and quality that results in optimization of photosynthetic light harvesting, as well as water and nutrient acquisition. Though several components of the phototropic signal response pathway have been identified in recent years, including the blue light (BL) receptors phototropin1 (phot1) and phot2, much remains unknown. Here, we show that the phot1-interacting protein NONPHOTOTROPIC HYPOCOTYL3 (NPH3) functions as a substrate adapter in a CULLIN3-based E3 ubiquitin ligase, CRL3(NPH3). Under low-intensity BL, CRL3(NPH3) mediates the mono/multiubiquitination of phot1, likely marking it for clathrin-dependent internalization from the plasma membrane. In high-intensity BL, phot1 is both mono/multi- and polyubiquitinated by CRL3(NPH3), with the latter event targeting phot1 for 26S proteasome-mediated degradation. Polyubiquitination and subsequent degradation of phot1 under high-intensity BL likely represent means of receptor desensitization, while mono/multiubiquitination-stimulated internalization of phot1 may be coupled to BL-induced relocalization of hormone (auxin) transporters.
Plants respond to a reduction in the red/far-red ratio (R:FR) of light, caused by the proximity of other plants, by initiating morphological changes that improve light capture. In Arabidopsis, this response (shade avoidance syndrome, SAS) is controlled by phytochromes (particularly phyB), and is dependent on the TAA1 pathway of auxin biosynthesis. However, when grown in real canopies, we found that phyB mutants and mutants deficient in TAAI (sav3) still display robust SAS responses to increased planting density and leaf shading. The SAS morphology (leaf hyponasty and reduced lamina/petiole ratio) could be phenocopied by exposing plants to blue light attenuation. These responses to blue light attenuation required the UV-A/blue light photoreceptor cry1. Moreover, they were mediated through mechanisms that showed only limited overlap with the pathways recruited by phyB inactivation. In particular, pathways for polar auxin transport, auxin biosynthesis and gibberellin signaling that are involved in SAS responses to low R:FR were not required for the SAS responses to blue light depletion. By contrast, the brassinosteroid response appeared to be required for the full expression of the SAS phenotype under low blue light. The phyB and cry1 inactivation pathways appeared to converge in their requirement for the basic/helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors PHYTOCHROME INTERACTING FACTORs?4 and 5 (PIF4 and PIF5) to elicit the SAS phenotype. Our results suggest that blue light is an important control of SAS responses, and that PIF4 and PIF5 are critical hubs for a diverse array of signaling routes that control plant architecture in canopies.
Plants sense neighbor proximity as a decrease in the ratio of red to far-red light, which triggers a series of developmental responses. In Arabidopsis, phytochrome B (PHYB) is the major sensor of shade, but PHYB excitation has not been linked directly to a growth response. We show that the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor PIF7 (phytochrome-interacting factor 7), an interactor of PHYB, accumulates in its dephosphorylated form in shade, allowing it to bind auxin biosynthetic genes and increase their expression. New auxin synthesized through a PIF7-regulated pathway is required for shade-induced growth, linking directly the perception of a light quality signal to a rapid growth response.
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