Phytochrome regulates cellular response plasticity and the basic molecular machinery of leaf development

Andres Romanowski, James J Furniss, Ejaz Hussain, Karen J. Halliday

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Plants are plastic organisms that optimise growth in response to a changing environment. This adaptive capability is regulated by external cues, including light, which provides vital information about the habitat. Phytochrome photoreceptors detect far-red light, indicative of nearby vegetation, and elicit the adaptive shade-avoidance syndrome (SAS) which is critical for plant survival. Plants exhibiting SAS are typically more elongated, with distinctive, small, narrow leaf blades. By applying SAS-inducing end-of-day far-red (EoD FR) treatments at different times during leaf 3 development, we have shown that SAS restricts leaf blade size through two distinct cellular strategies. Early SAS induction limits cell division, while later exposure limits cell expansion. This flexible strategy enables phytochromes to maintain control of leaf size through proliferative and expansion phases of leaf growth. mRNAseq time course data, accessible through a community resource, coupled to a bioinformatics pipeline, identified pathways that underlie these dramatic changes in leaf growth. Phytochrome regulates a suite of major development pathways that control cell division, expansion, and cell fate. Further, phytochromes control cell proliferation through synchronous regulation of the cell cycle, DNA replication, DNA repair and cytokinesis, and has an important role in sustaining ribosome biogenesis and translation, through leaf development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1220–1239
Number of pages20
JournalPlant physiology
Issue number2
Early online date9 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


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