, Volume 69, Issue 4, pp 409-417
Date: 17 Sep 2008

Molecular interactions between light and hormone signaling to control plant growth

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Abstract

As sessile organisms, plants modulate their growth rate and development according to the continuous variation in the conditions of their surrounding environment, an ability referred to as plasticity. This ability relies on a web of interactions between signaling pathways triggered by endogenous and environmental cues. How changes in environmental factors are interpreted by the plant in terms of developmental or growth cues or, in other words, how they contribute to plant plasticity is a current, major question in plant biology. Light stands out among the environmental factors that shape plant development. Plants have evolved systems that allow them to monitor both quantitative and qualitative differences in the light that they perceive, that render important changes in their growth habit. In this review we focus on recent findings about how information from this environmental cue is integrated during de-etiolation and in the shade-avoidance syndrome, and modulated by several hormone pathways—the endogenous cues. In some cases the interaction between a hormone and the light signaling pathways is reciprocal, as is the case of the gibberellin pathway, whereas in other cases hormone pathways act downstream of the environmental cue to regulate growth. Moreover, the circadian clock adds an additional layer of regulation, which has been proposed to integrate the information provided by light with that provided by hormone pathways, to regulate daily growth.