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Phytochrome-imposed inhibition of PIF7 activity shapes photoperiodic growth in Arabidopsis together with PIF1, 3, 4 and 5.
P. Leivar, G. Martín, J. Soy, J. Dalton-Roesler, P.H. Quail, E. Monte.
Physiologia Plantarum 169, 452-466 (2020).


Under photoperiodic conditions, Arabidopsis thaliana seedling growth is inhibited in long days (LDs), but promoted under the extended nights of short days (SDs). This behavior is partly implemented by phytochrome (phy)‐imposed oscillations in the abundance of the growth‐promoting, phy‐interacting bHLH transcription factors PHY‐INTERACTING FACTOR 1 (PIF1), PIF3, PIF4 and PIF5 (PIF quartet or PIFq). However, the observation that a pifq mutant is still stimulated to elongate when given a phy‐inactivating end‐of‐day far‐red pulse (EODFR), suggests that additional factors are involved in the phy‐mediated suppression of growth during the subsequent dark period. Here, by combining growth‐analysis of pif7 single‐ and higher‐order mutants with gene expression analysis under SD, LD, SD‐EODFR, and LD‐EODFR, we show that PIF7 promotes growth during the dark hours of SD, by regulating growth‐related gene expression. Interestingly, the relative contribution of PIF7 in promoting growth is stronger under EODFR, whereas PIF3 role is more important under SD, suggesting that PIF7 is a prominent target of phy‐suppression. Indeed, we show that phy imposes phosphorylation and inactivation of PIF7 during the light hours in SD, and prevents full dephosphorylation during the night. This repression can be lifted with an EODFR, which correlates with increased PIF7‐mediated gene expression and elongation. In addition, our results suggest that PIF7 function might involve heterodimerization with PIF3. Furthermore, our data indicate that a pifqpif7 quintuple mutant is largely insensitive to photoperiod for hypocotyl elongation. Collectively, the data suggest that PIF7, together with the PIFq, is required for the photoperiodic regulation of seasonal growth.