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Keywords:

  • photomorphogenesis;
  • de-etiolation;
  • photoreceptor;
  • shade avoidance;
  • mutant;
  • Solanum lycopersicum.

Summary

The role of phytochrome B2 (phyB2) in the control of photomorphogenesis in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) has been investigated using recently isolated mutants carrying lesions in the PHYB2 gene. The physiological interactions of phytochrome A (phyA), phytochrome B1 (phyB1) and phyB2 have also been explored, using an isogenic series of all possible mutant combinations and several different phenotypic characteristics. The loss of phyB2 had a negligible effect on the development of white-light-grown wild-type or phyA-deficient plants, but substantially enhanced the elongated pale phenotype of the phyB1 mutant. This redundancy was also seen in the control of de-etiolation under continuous red light (R), where the loss of phyB2 had no detectable effect in the presence of phyB1. Under continuous R, phyA action was largely independent of phyB1 and phyB2 in terms of the control of hypocotyl elongation, but antagonized the effects of phyB1 in the control of anthocyanin synthesis, indicating that photoreceptors may interact differently to control different traits. Irradiance response curves for anthocyanin synthesis revealed that phyB1 and phyB2 together mediate all the detectable response to high-irradiance R, and, surprisingly, that the phyA-dependent low-irradiance component is also strongly reduced in the phyB1 phyB2 double mutant. This is not associated with a reduction in phyA protein content or responsiveness to continuous far-red light (FR), suggesting that phyB1 and phyB2 specifically influence phyA activity under low-irradiance R. Finally, the phyA phyB1 phyB2 triple mutant showed strong residual responsiveness to supplementary daytime FR, indicating that at least one of the two remaining phytochromes plays a significant role in tomato photomorphogenesis.