Control of Plant Growth and Defense by Photoreceptors: From Mechanisms to Opportunities in Agriculture.
Pierik, R. and Ballare, C. L.
Plant Ecophysiology, Department of Biology, Utrecht University, Padualaan 8, Utrecht 3584 CH, the Netherlands. Electronic address: r.pierik@uu.nl.
IFEVA, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Cientificas y Tecnicas, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Ave. San Martin 4453, C1417DSE, Buenos Aires, Argentina; IIBIO-INTECH, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Cientificas y Tecnicas, Universidad Nacional de San Martin, B1650HMP, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Electronic address: ballare@ifeva.edu.ar.
Plants detect and respond to the proximity of competitors using light signals perceived by photoreceptor proteins. A low ratio of red to far-red radiation (R:FR ratio) is a key signal of competition that is sensed by the photoreceptor phytochrome B (phyB). Low R:FR ratios increase the synthesis of growth-related hormones, including auxin and gibberellins, promoting stem elongation and other shade-avoidance responses. Other photoreceptors that help plants to optimize their developmental configuration and resource allocation patterns in the canopy include blue light photoreceptors, such as cryptochromes and phototropins, and UV receptors, such as UVR8. All photoreceptors act by directly or indirectly controlling the activity of two major regulatory nodes for growth and development: the COP1/SPA ubiquitin E3 ligase complex and the PIF transcription factors. phyB is also an important modulator of hormonal pathways that regulate plant defense against herbivores and pathogens, including the jasmonic acid signaling pathway. In this Perspective, we discuss recent advances on the studies of the mechanisms that link photoreceptors with growth and defense. Understanding these mechanisms is important to provide a functional platform for breeding programs aimed at improving plant productivity, stress tolerance, and crop health in species of agronomic interest, and to manipulate the light environments in protected agriculture.
Molecular Plant 14(1): 61-76 (2021)