• Abscisic acid;
  • green light;
  • leaf angle;
  • nastic movements;
  • phytochrome


As a rosette plant, Arabidopsis thaliana forms leaves near to the ground, which causes the plant to be vulnerable to shading by neighbours. One mechanism to avoid such shading is the regulation of leaf inclination, such that leaves can be raised to more vertical orientations to prevent neighbouring leaves from overtopping them. Throughout Arabidopsis rosette development, rosette leaves move to more vertical orientations when shaded by neighbouring leaves, exposed to low light levels or placed in the dark. After dark-induced reorientation of leaves, returning them to white light causes the leaves to reorient to more horizontal inclinations. These light-dependent leaf movements are more robust than, and distinct from, the diurnal movements of rosette leaves. However, the movements are gated by the circadian clock. The light-dependent leaf orientation response is mediated primarily through phytochromes A, B and E, with the orientation varying with the ratio of red light to far-red light, consistent with other shade-avoidance responses. However, even plants lacking these phytochromes were able to alter leaf inclination in response to white light, suggesting a role for other photoreceptors. In particular, we found significant changes in leaf inclination for plants exposed to green light. This green light response may be caused, in part, by light-dependent regulation of abscisic acid (ABA) biosynthesis.