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Green light effects on plant growth and development

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In the developing seedling light quality, quantity, and duration strongly influence establishment. A rich history of reports clearly show that red, blue and far-red light have specific effects that control the processes in this developmental transition. During acclimation to the light environment, light drives many morphological and molecular-genetic processes, such as inhibition of hypocotyl elongation and increase in plastid transcripts encoding proteins required for photosynthesis. Our laboratory has demonstrated specific effects of narrow-bandwidth green light that oppose these processes, independently of known sensory systems. Additionally, we have expanded on recent evidence that indicates a role for green light in directly reversing cryptochrome-mediated responses. Our findings support a hypothesis that green light signals integrate and balance the developmental effects induced by red and/or blue light acting through the phytochrome and cryptochrome systems. Co-irradiation with red, blue and green light using our specialized LED chambers indicates that green light can conditionally reverse stem elongation and anthocyanin driven by blue and/or red light. This effect is cryptochrome dependent. Supplemental green light induces changes in plant architecture reminiscent of shaded growth habits. When dark-grown seedlings were treated with a short, single pulse of red light, a pulse of dim green light (1/500th the fluence, approximately “safelight” fluence rates), or a combination of both treatments, the minor green treatment can negate red-induced transcript accumulation. The effects of green are apparent only during specific windows in seedling development. Together, these data support a hypothesis that a green light sensing system works carefully in concert with known sensory systems to optimize seedling morphology and physiology during establishment, and are most relevant in low light environments.

This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars series.

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