Light signals generated by vegetation shade facilitate acclimation to low light in shade-avoider plants
PublisherAmerican Society of Plant Biologists
Rights accessOpen Access
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When growing in search for light, plants can experience continuous or occasional shading by other plants. Plant proximity causes a decrease in the ratio of red to far-red light (low R:FR) due to the preferential absorbance of red light and reflection of far-red light by photosynthetic tissues of neighboring plants. This signal is often perceived before actual shading causes a reduction in photosynthetically active radiation (low PAR). Here we investigated how several Brassicaceae species from different habitats respond to low R:FR and low PAR in terms of elongation, photosynthesis and photoacclimation. Shade-tolerant plants such as hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta) displayed a good adaptation to low PAR but a poor or null response to low R:FR exposure. By contrast, shade-avoider species, such as Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), showed a weak photosynthetic performance under low PAR but they strongly elongated when exposed to low R:FR. These responses could be genetically uncoupled. Most interestingly, exposure to low R:FR of shade-avoider (but not shade-tolerant) plants improved their photoacclimation to low PAR by triggering changes in photosynthesis-related gene expression, pigment accumulation and chloroplast ultrastructure. These results indicate that low R:FR signaling unleashes molecular, metabolic and developmental responses that allow shade-avoider plants (including most crops) to adjust their photosynthetic capacity in anticipation of eventual shading by nearby plants.
CitationMorelli, L. [et al.]. Light signals generated by vegetation shade facilitate acclimation to low light in shade-avoider plants. "Plant Physiology", 7 Maig 2021, vol. 186, núm. 4, p. 2137-2151.