The SPA1-like proteins SPA3 and SPA4 repress photomorphogenesis in the light

Plant J. 2003 Aug;35(3):373-85. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.2003.01813.x.


Suppressor of phyA-105 (SPA1) is a phytochrome A-specific signaling intermediate that acts as a light-dependent repressor of photomorphogenesis in Arabidopsis seedlings. SPA1 is part of a small gene family comprising three genes: SPA1-related 2 (SPA2), SPA1-related 3 (SPA3), and SPA1-related 4 (SPA4). Here, we investigate the functions of SPA3 and SPA4, two very closely related genes coding for proteins with 74% identical amino acids. Seedlings with mutations in SPA3 or SPA4 exhibit enhanced photomorphogenesis in the light, but show no phenotype in darkness. While there are small differences between the effects of spa3 and spa4 mutations, it is apparent that SPA3 and SPA4 function to inhibit light responses in continuous far-red, red, and blue light. Phytochrome A is necessary for all aspects of the spa4 mutant phenotype, suggesting that SPA4, like SPA1, acts specifically in phytochrome A signaling. Enhanced photoresponsiveness of spa3 mutants is also fully dependent on phytochrome A in far-red and blue light, but not in red light. Hence, SPA3 function in red light may be dependent on other phytochromes in addition to phytochrome A. Using yeast two-hybrid and in vitro interaction assays, we further show that SPA3 as well as SPA4 can physically interact with the constitutive repressor of light signaling COP1. Deletion analyses suggest that SPA3 and SPA4, like SPA1, bind to the coiled-coil domain of COP1. Taken together, our results have identified two new loci coding for negative regulators that may be involved in fine tuning of light responses by interacting with COP1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Arabidopsis / radiation effects
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / chemistry
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / physiology*
  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • DNA, Plant / genetics
  • Epistasis, Genetic
  • Genes, Plant
  • Genetic Complementation Test
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family
  • Mutation
  • Photobiology
  • Phytochrome / genetics
  • Phytochrome A
  • Protein Binding
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Signal Transduction
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • DNA, Plant
  • PHYA protein, Arabidopsis
  • Phytochrome A
  • Phytochrome
  • AT2G32950 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases