Phytochromes control metabolic flux, and their action at the seedling stage determines adult plant biomass

Johanna Krahmer, Ammad Abbas, Virginie Mengin, Hirofumi Ishihara, Andres Romanowski, James J Furniss, Thiago Moraes, Nicole Krohn, Maria Grazia Annunziata, Regina Feil, Saleh Alseekh, Toshihiro Obata, Alasdair R Fernie, Mark Stitt, Karen J. Halliday

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Phytochrome (phy) photoreceptors are known to regulate plastic growth responses to vegetation shade. However, recent reports also suggest an important role for phys in carbon resource management, metabolism, and growth. Here, we use 13CO2 labelling patterns in multi-allele phy mutants to investigate the role of phy in the control of metabolic fluxes. We also combine quantitative data of 13C incorporation into protein and cell wall polymers, gas exchange measurements and system modelling to investigate why biomass is decreased in adult multi-allele phy mutants. Phy influences the synthesis of stress metabolites like raffinose and proline, and the accumulation of sugars, possibly through regulating vacuolar sugar transport. Remarkably, despite their modified metabolism and vastly altered architecture, growth rates in adult phy mutants resemble those of wild-type plants. Our results point to delayed seedling growth and smaller cotyledon size as the cause of the adult stage phy mutant biomass defect. Our data signify a role for phy in metabolic stress physiology, carbon partitioning and illustrate that phy action at the seedling stage sets the trajectory for adult biomass production.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3263–3278
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number8
Early online date5 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • 13C labelling
  • growth modelling
  • metabolic flux
  • phytochrome
  • plant growth
  • stress metabolites


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