, Volume 246, Issue 2, pp 133-141

Far-red light-insensitive, phytochrome A-deficient mutants of tomato

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We have selected two recessive mutants of tomato with slightly longer hypocotyls than the wild type, one under low fluence rate (3 μmol/m2/s) red light (R) and the other under low fluence rate blue light. These two mutants were shown to be allelic and further analysis revealed that hypocotyl growth was totally insensitive to far-red light (FR). We propose the gene symbol fri (far-red light insensitive) for this locus and have mapped it on chromosome 10. Immunochemically detectable phytochrome A polypeptide is essentially absent in the fri mutants as is the bulk spectrophotometrically detectable labile phytochrome pool in etiolated seedlings. A phytochrome B-like polypeptide is present in normal amounts and a small stable phytochrome pool can be readily detected by spectrophotometry in the fri mutants. Inhibition of hypocotyl growth by a R pulse given every 4 h is quantitatively similar in the fri mutants and wild type and the effect is to a large extent reversible if R pulses are followed immediately by a FR pulse. After 7 days in darkness, both fri mutants and the wild type become green on transfer to white light, but after 7 days in FR, the wild-type seedlings that have expanded their cotyledons lose their capacity to green in white light, while the fri mutants de-etiolate. Adult plants of the fri mutants show retarded growth and are prone to wilting, but exhibit a normal elongation response to FR given at the end of the daily photoperiod. The inhibition of seed germination by continuous FR exhibited by the wild type is normal in the fri mutants. It is proposed that these fri mutants are putative phytochrome A mutants which have normal pools of other phytochromes.