Phytochrome B and shade signals regulate phytochrome A expression
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The control of phytochrome A expression at the protein and mRNA levels was investigated in wild-type and phyB-1 mutant sorghum (Sorghum bicolor [L.] Moench). PHYA mRNA abundance follows a diurnal rhythm in both genotypes, with maximal accumulation near the latter part of the light period. PHYA mRNA is more abundant in the phyB-1 mutant. The level of PHYA message correlates with both R : FR and photon flux density in wild-type, but only with photon flux density in the phyB-1 mutant. The differences in mRNA abundance are reflected in the level of phyA protein, which is elevated in the phyB-1 mutant and accumulates under low photon flux density. During de-etiolation, PHYA message accumulation is initially repressed solely by a very low fluence response (VLFR) presumably mediated by phyA. The phyB-mediated low fluence response maintains the repression of accumulation past the time controlled by the VLFR. With repetitive photoperiods, the transition from the etiolated growth form to autotrophic competency is accompanied by a transition from light-induced reduction of PHYA mRNA abundance to enhanced accumulation during the light period. The loss of phyB function allows partial de-repression of PHYA message accumulation under repetitive photoperiods, resulting in plants deficient in phyB but enriched in phyA. The modification of PHYA mRNA and protein levels in the phyB-1 mutant documented in this study may help clarify the molecular basis of the phyB-1 phenotype. The tailoring of phyA abundance in wild-type to the time of day and shade signals suggests a plastic role for this pigment in controlling development in light-grown plants. Copyright Physiologia Plantarum 2006.