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Summary

We previously reported a photomorphogenic mutation of Arabidopsis thaliana, shy2–1D, as a dominant suppressor of a hy2 mutation. Here, we report that shy2–1D confers various photo-responsive phenotypes in darkness and the dark phenotypes of the mutant are affected by phytochrome deficiency. Dark-grown seedlings of the mutant developed several photomorphogenic characteristics such as short hypocotyls, cotyledon expansion and opening, and partial differentiation of plastids. When grown further in darkness, the mutant plant underwent most of the developmental stages of a light-grown wild-type plant, including development of foliar leaves, an inflorescence stem with cauline leaves, and floral organs. In addition, two light-inducible genes, the nuclear-encoded CAB and the plastid-encoded PSBA genes, were highly expressed in the dark-grown mutant seedlings. Furthermore, reduced gravitropism, a phytochrome-modulated response, was observed in the mutant hypocotyl in darkness. Thus, shy2–1D is one of the most pleiotropic photomorphogenic mutations identified so far. The results indicate that SHY2 may be a key component regulating photomorphogenesis in Arabidopsis. Surprisingly, double mutants of the shy2–1D mutant with the phytochrome-deficient mutants hy2, hy3 (phyB-1) and fre1–1 (phyA-201) showed reduced photomorphogenic response in darkness with a longer hypocotyl, a longer inflorescence stem, and a lower level expression of the CAB gene than the shy2–1D single mutant. These results showed that phytochromes function in darkness in the shy2–1D mutant background. The implications of these results are discussed.