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Convergent regulation of PIFs and the E3 ligase COP1/SPA1 mediates thermosensory hypocotyl elongation by plant phytochromes

Martínez, Cristina, Nieto, Cristina, Prat, Salomé
Current opinion in plant biology 2018 v.45 pp. 188-203
brassinosteroids, circadian clocks, gibberellins, growth and development, hypocotyls, phytochrome, seasonal variation, temperature, transcription (genetics), ubiquitin-protein ligase, weather
The ability of plants to sense and integrate daily and seasonal changes in light and temperature and to adjust their growth and development accordingly, is critical to withstand severe weather oscillations in a year. While molecular mechanisms controlling light responses are relatively well established, those involved in the perception and response to temperature are just beginning to be understood. Phytochromes emerged as major temperature sensors; due to warmer temperatures accelerate the dark reversal reaction to the Pr inactive state. Downstream of phytochromes, the bHLH Phytochrome Interacting Factors, and in particular PIF4, act as central signaling hubs to growth coordination in response to light and temperature cues, and to the gibberellin and brassinosteroid pathways. Here we discuss recent findings showing that phytochromes control PIFs activity not only by signaling their destruction in the light, but by modulating transcriptional repression of these factors by the circadian clock. Together with this repression, phytochromes inactivate the COP1/SPA ubiquitin ligase, which negatively regulates light signaling through degradation of a large set of nuclear photomorphogenesis-promoting factors that suppress PIFs activity.