The family of phytochrome photoreceptors plays an essential role in regulating plant growth and development in response to the light environment. An antisense PHYB transgene has been introduced into wild-type Arabidopsis and shown to inhibit expression of the PHYB sense mRNA and the phyB phytochrome protein 4- to 5-fold. This inhibition is specific to phyB in that the levels of the four other phytochromes, notably the closely related phyD and phyE phytochromes, are unaffected in the antisense lines. Antisense-induced reduction in phyB causes alterations of red light effects on seedling hypocotyl elongation, rosette leaf morphology, and chlorophyll content, similar to the phenotypic changes caused by phyB null mutations. However, unlike the phyB mutants, the antisense lines do not flower early compared to the wild type. Furthermore, unlike the phyB mutants, the antisense lines do not show a reduction in phyC level compared to the wild type, making it possible to unequivocally associate several of the photomorphogenic effects seen in phyB mutants with phytochrome B alone. These results indicate that an antisense transgene approach can be used to specifically inhibit the expression and activity of a single member of the phytochrome family and to alter aspects of shade avoidance responses in a targeted manner.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 3, 2004
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