Unexpected roles for cryptochrome 2 and phototropin revealed by high-resolution analysis of blue light-mediated hypocotyl growth inhibition

Plant J. 2001 Jun;26(5):471-8. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.2001.01038.x.


Blue light (BL) rapidly and strongly inhibits hypocotyl elongation during the photomorphogenic response known as de-etiolation, the transformation of a dark-grown seedling into a pigmented, photoautotrophic organism. In Arabidopsis thaliana, high-resolution studies of hypocotyl growth accomplished by computer-assisted electronic image capture and analysis revealed that inhibition occurs in two genetically independent phases, the first beginning within 30 sec of illumination. The present work demonstrates that phototropin (nph1), the photoreceptor responsible for phototropism, is largely responsible for the initial, rapid inhibition. Signaling from phototropin during the curvature response is dependent upon interaction with NPH3, but the results presented here demonstrate that NPH3 is not necessary for phototropin-dependent growth inhibition. Activation of anion channels, which transiently depolarizes the plasma membrane within seconds of BL, is an early event in the cryptochrome signaling pathway leading to a phase of growth inhibition that replaces the transient phototropin-dependent phase after approximately 30 min of BL. Surprisingly, cry1 and cry2 were found to contribute equally and non-redundantly to anion-channel activation and to growth inhibition between 30 and 120 min of BL. Inspection of the inhibition kinetics displayed by nph1 and nph1cry1 mutants revealed that the cryptochrome phase of inhibition is delayed in seedlings lacking phototropin. This result indicates that BL-activation of phototropin influences cryptochrome signaling leading to growth inhibition. Mutations in the NPQ1 gene, which inhibit BL-induced stomatal opening, do not affect any aspect of the growth inhibition within the first 120 min examined here, and NPQ1 does not affect the activation of anion channels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis / radiation effects*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Cryptochromes
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Electrophysiology
  • Eye Proteins*
  • Flavoproteins / genetics
  • Flavoproteins / metabolism*
  • Hypocotyl / growth & development
  • Hypocotyl / radiation effects*
  • Light
  • Light Signal Transduction
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Morphogenesis
  • Mutation
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Invertebrate*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • CRY1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Cryptochromes
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Eye Proteins
  • Flavoproteins
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • cry protein, Drosophila