UV-A͞blue light acts to regulate a number of physiological processes in higher plants. These include light-driven chloroplast movement and phototropism. The NPH1 gene of Arabidopsis encodes an autophosphorylating protein kinase that functions as a photoreceptor for phototropism in response to low-intensity blue light. However, nph1 mutants have been reported to exhibit normal phototropic curvature under high-intensity blue light, indicating the presence of an additional phototropic receptor. A likely candidate is the nph1 homologue, npl1, which has recently been shown to mediate the avoidance response of chloroplasts to high-intensity blue light in Arabidopsis. Here we demonstrate that npl1, like nph1, noncovalently binds the chromophore flavin mononucleotide (FMN) within two specialized PAS domains, termed LOV domains. Furthermore, when expressed in insect cells, npl1, like nph1, undergoes light-dependent autophosphorylation, indicating that npl1 also functions as a light receptor kinase. Consistent with this conclusion, we show that a nph1 npl1 double mutant exhibits an impaired phototropic response under both low-and highintensity blue light. Hence, npl1 functions as a second phototropic receptor under high fluence rate conditions and is, in part, functionally redundant to nph1. We also demonstrate that both chloroplast accumulation in response to low-intensity light and chloroplast avoidance movement in response to high-intensity light are lacking in the nph1 npl1 double mutant. Our findings therefore indicate that nph1 and npl1 show partially overlapping functions in two different responses, phototropism and chloroplast relocation, in a fluence rate-dependent manner.L ight is an important environmental factor controlling plant growth and development. In particular, wavelengths in UV-A (320-390 nm) and blue (390-500 nm) regions of the electromagnetic spectrum act to regulate a range of different plant responses. These processes include de-etiolation, photoentrainment of the circadian clock, floral initiation, phototropic curvature, chloroplast relocation, and stomatal opening (1-3). Much of our understanding of blue light perception in higher plants has come from the isolation of blue-light-response mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana. Indeed, molecular genetic studies have shown that the effects of blue light on plant development are mediated by at least four different blue-light receptors in Arabidopsis: cryptochrome 1 (cry1), cryptochrome 2 (cry2), phototropin (nph1, for non-phototropic hypocotyl 1), and the npl1 (nph1-like 1) protein.The phototropin photoreceptor, nph1, mediates both root and hypocotyl phototropism in response to low-fluence-rate unilateral blue light (Ͻ1 mol⅐m Ϫ2 ⅐s Ϫ1 ) (4, 5). Nph1 is a 120-kDa plasma-membrane-associated protein that contains a serine͞ threonine kinase domain located within its C terminus. Furthermore, the N-terminal region of nph1 contains a repeated motif of 110 aa, designated LOV1 and LOV2, that belong to the PAS domain (found in PER, ARNT, and SIM proteins) superfamil...
The stomatal pores of higher plants allow for gaseous exchange into and out of leaves. Situated in the epidermis, they are surrounded by a pair of guard cells which control their opening in response to many environmental stimuli, including blue light. Opening of the pores is mediated by K(+) accumulation in guard cells through a K(+) channel and driven by an inside-negative electrical potential. Blue light causes phosphorylation and activation of the plasma membrane H(+)-ATPase that creates this potential. Thus far, no blue light receptor mediating stomatal opening has been identified, although the carotenoid, zeaxanthin, has been proposed. Arabidopsis mutants deficient in specific blue-light-mediated responses have identified four blue light receptors, cryptochrome 1 (cry1), cryptochrome 2 (cry2), phot1 and phot2. Here we show that in a double mutant of phot1 and phot2 stomata do not respond to blue light although single mutants are phenotypically normal. These results demonstrate that phot1 and phot2 act redundantly as blue light receptors mediating stomatal opening.
Chloroplasts relocate their positions in a cell in response to the intensity of incident light, moving to the side wall of the cell to avoid strong light, but gathering at the front face under weak light to maximize light interception. Here, Arabidopsis thaliana mutants defective in the avoidance response were isolated, and the mutated gene was identified as NPL1 (NPH-like 1), a homolog of NPH1 (nonphototropic hypocotyl 1), a blue light receptor used in phototropism. Hence, NPL1 is likely a blue light receptor regulating the avoidance response under strong light.
Phototropism, the bending response of plant organs to or away from a directional light source, is one of the best studied blue light responses in plants. Although phototropism has been studied for more than a century, recent advances have improved our understanding of the underlying signaling mechanisms involved. The NPH1 gene of Arabidopsis thaliana encodes a blue light-dependent autophosphorylating protein kinase with the properties of a photoreceptor for phototropism. NPH1 apoprotein noncovalently binds FMN to form the holoprotein nph1. The N-terminal region of the protein contains two LOV (light, oxygen, or voltage) domains that share homology with sensor proteins from a diverse group of organisms. These include the bacterial proteins NIFL and AER, both of which bind FAD, and the phy3 photoreceptor from Adiantium capillus-veneris. The LOV domain has therefore been proposed to ref lect a f lavin-binding site, regulating nph1 kinase activity in response to blue light-induced redox changes. Herein we demonstrate that the LOV domains of two nph1 proteins and phy3 bind stoichiometric amounts of FMN when expressed in Escherichia coli. The spectral properties of the chromopeptides are similar to the action spectrum for phototropism, implying that the LOV domain binds FMN to function as a light sensor. Thus, our findings support the earlier model that nph1 is a dual-chromophoric f lavoprotein photoreceptor regulating phototropic responses in higher plants. We therefore propose the name phototropin to designate the nph1 holoprotein.
When plants are exposed to light levels higher than those required for photosynthesis, reactive oxygen species are generated in the chloroplasts and cause photodamage. This can occur even under natural growth conditions. To mitigate photodamage, plants have developed several protective mechanisms. One is chloroplast avoidance movement, in which chloroplasts move from the cell surface to the side walls of cells under high light conditions, although experimental support is still awaited. Here, using different classes of mutant defective in chloroplast avoidance movement, we show that these mutants are more susceptible to damage in high light than wild-type plants. Damage of the photosynthetic apparatus and subsequent bleaching of leaf colour and necrosis occur faster under high light conditions in the mutants than in wild-type plants. We conclude that chloroplast avoidance movement actually decreases the amount of light absorption by chloroplasts, and might therefore be important to the survival of plants under natural growth conditions.
Organelle movement is essential for proper function of living cells. In plants, these movements generally depend on actin filaments, but the underlying mechanism is unknown. Here, in Arabidopsis, we identify associations of short actin filaments along the chloroplast periphery on the plasma membrane side associated with chloroplast photorelocation and anchoring to the plasma membrane. We have termed these chloroplast-actin filaments (cp-actin filaments). Cp-actin filaments emerge from the chloroplast edge and exhibit rapid turnover. The presence of cp-actin filaments depends on an actin-binding protein, chloroplast unusual positioning1 (CHUP1), localized on the chloroplast envelope. chup1 mutant lacked cp-actin filaments but showed normal cytoplasmic actin filaments. When irradiated with blue light to induce chloroplast movement, cp-actin filaments relocalize to the leading edge of chloroplasts before and during photorelocation and are regulated by 2 phototropins, phot1 and phot2. Our findings suggest that plants evolved a unique actin-based mechanism for organelle movement.actin filament ͉ chloroplast photorelocation ͉ chloroplast unusual positioning1 (CHUP1) ͉ organelle movement ͉ phototropin
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