Integration of circadian and phototransduction pathways in the network controlling CAB gene transcription in Arabidopsis

A J Millar, S A Kay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The transcription of CAB genes, encoding the chlorophyll a/b-binding proteins, is rapidly induced in dark-grown Arabidopsis seedlings following a light pulse. The transient induction is followed by several cycles of a circadian rhythm. Seedlings transferred to continuous light are known to exhibit a robust circadian rhythm of CAB expression. The precise waveform of CAB expression in light-dark cycles, however, reflects a regulatory network that integrates information from photoreceptors, from the circadian clock and possibly from a developmental program. We have used the luciferase reporter system to investigate CAB expression with high time resolution. We demonstrate that CAB expression in light-grown plants exhibits a transient induction following light onset, similar to the response in dark-grown seedlings. The circadian rhythm modulates the magnitude and the kinetics of the response to light, such that the CAB promoter is not light responsive during the subjective night. A signaling pathway from the circadian oscillator must therefore antagonize the phototransduction pathways controlling the CAB promoter. We have further demonstrated that the phase of maximal CAB expression is delayed in light-dark cycles with long photoperiods, due to the entrainment of the circadian oscillator. Under short photoperiods, this pattern of entrainment ensures that dawn coincides with a phase of high light responsiveness, whereas under long photoperiods, the light response at dawn is reduced.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15491-6
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)
Issue number26
Publication statusPublished - 1996


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