Phytochrome: Molecular Mechanisms for Light Signaling in Plants

Authored by: Jeong-Il Kim , Yun-Jeong Han , Pill-Soon Song

CRC Handbook of Organic Photochemistry and Photobiology

Print publication date:  March  2012
Online publication date:  March  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439899335
eBook ISBN: 9781466561250
Adobe ISBN:


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Phytochromes are photoreceptors that regulate many aspects of plant growth and development in response to red/far-red light signals from the environment. 13 Phytochromes in higher plants are encoded by small gene families. 4 For example, the completed whole genome sequences of Arabidopsis thaliana and Oryza sativa phytochromes reveal five (PHYA to PHYE) and three (PHYA to PHYC) genes, respectively. 5,6 Phytochromes are dimeric chromoproteins having covalently linked open tetrapyrrole phytochromobilin and exist in two photochromic species, red-light-absorbing Pr and far-red-light-absorbing Pfr forms. They are biosynthesized as the Pr form in the dark, which can be phototransformed into the Pfr form upon exposure to red light. The Pr-to-Pfr phototransformation of phytochromes induces the highly regulated signaling network for photomorphogenesis in plants. 79 Recent studies on the molecular mechanisms of the phytochrome-mediated light signaling reveal that phytochrome photoactivation impacts on the control of protein subcellular localization, 10,11 transcription, 12,13 protein stability, 14,15 and protein phosphorylation. 16 Here, we highlight the current knowledge about the molecular mechanisms of phytochrome function based on the recent advances.

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