Blue light- and genetically-reversed gravitropic response in protonemata of the moss Ceratodon purpureus
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In darkness, protonemal filaments of Ceratodon purpureus (Brid.) grow negatively gravitropically (upwards). Red light induces a positive phototropic response mediated by the photoreceptor phytochrome. A red light treatment also has an inhibitory effect on the gravitropic response, an effect also mediated by phytochrome. In this study the effects of blue light on phototropism and on gravitropism were analysed. Unilateral blue light resulted in only a weak phototropic response, but markedly randomised growth direction. Blue light given together with a gravitropic stimulus reversed the gravitropism, changing it from negative to positive (filaments grow downward). The effect of blue light was also analysed with the mutant ptr116, which is defective in the biosynthesis of the phytochrome chromophore, and in a newly isolated mutant wwr2, which is positively gravitropic in darkness. Blue light induced the same reversal of gravitropism in ptr116 as in the wild type, indicating that phytochrome is not involved in this process. In wwr2 the direction of gravitropism was unaltered by the blue light treatment. Light also affects chlorophyll content and the size of plastids, potential statoliths for gravitropism. Red light induced an increase in plastid size and chlorophyll content in the wild type but not in ptr116. Blue light induced a similar change in wild type plastids. It seems as though light-induced alterations of gravitropism are not simply mediated by alterations in plastid properties, and that red light and blue light evoke fundamentally different responses.
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