Molecular mechanisms of light-regulated growth and development in plants
Plant Photoreceptor-Mediated Signal Transduction
Both genetic and environmental factors influence growth and development of any living organism. Plant development is very plastic and is constantly modulated by environmental fluctuations. Being photoautotrophic plants are particularly sensitive to their light environment. Light affects all aspects of the plant life cycle. To optimize growth according to ambient light conditions plants evolved several classes of photoreceptors including the UV-A/blue light sensing cryptochromes and phototropins and the phytochromes maximally absorbing red/far-red light. The coordinated action of all these light receptors allows plants to fine-tune their development.
We focus our attention on two characteristic plant responses to light: phototropism which is the ability of plant stems to reorient their growth towards a unilateral source of light and shade avoidance which in shade intolerant plants such as Arabidopsis triggers elongation growth responses enabling the plant to reach unfiltered sunlight. Both light-responses contribute to the maximization of plant growth in particular in low light conditions that are typical in dense plant populations.
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- Shade avoidance
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