The Cape Verde Islands Allele of Cryptochrome 2 Enhances Cotyledon Unfolding in the Absence of Blue Light in Arabidopsis

Plant Physiol. 2003 Dec;133(4):1547-56. doi: 10.1104/pp.103.029546. Epub 2003 Nov 6.


We analyzed the natural genetic variation between Landsburg erecta (Ler) and Cape Verde Islands (Cvi) accessions by studying 105 recombinant inbred lines to search for players in the regulation of sensitivity to light signals perceived by phytochromes in etiolated seedlings of Arabidopsis. In seedlings grown under hourly pulses of far-red (FR) light, we identified three quantitative trait loci (QTLs; VLF3, VLF4, and VLF5) for hypocotyl growth inhibition and three different QTLs (VLF6, VLF7, and VLF1) for cotyledon unfolding. This indicates that different physiological outputs have selective regulation of sensitivity during de-etiolation. Ler alleles, compared with Cvi alleles, of VLF3, VLF4, VLF5, VLF7, and VLF1 enhanced, whereas the Ler allele of VLF6 reduced, the response to pulses of FR. We confirmed and narrowed down the position of some QTLs by using near-isogenic lines. VLF6 mapped close to the CRY2 (cryptochrome 2) gene. Transgenic Ler seedlings expressing the Cvi allele of CRY2 showed enhanced cotyledon unfolding under hourly pulses of FR compared with the wild type or transgenics expressing the CRY2-Ler allele. This response required phytochrome A. The cry1 cry2 double mutant lacking both cryptochromes showed reduced cotyledon unfolding under FR pulses. Because the CRY2-Cvi is a gain-of-function allele compared with CRY2-Ler, cryptochrome activity correlates positively with cotyledon unfolding under FR pulses. We conclude that the blue light photoreceptor cryptochrome 2 can modulate seedling photomorphogenesis in the absence of blue light. In addition to the nuclear loci, we identified cytoplasmic effects on seedling de-etiolation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Africa, Western
  • Alleles
  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis / radiation effects
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / radiation effects
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes, Plant / genetics
  • Cotyledon / genetics*
  • Cotyledon / growth & development
  • Cotyledon / radiation effects
  • Cryptochromes
  • Darkness
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Eye Proteins*
  • Flavoproteins / genetics*
  • Flavoproteins / radiation effects
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Hypocotyl / growth & development
  • Light
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Invertebrate*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / growth & development
  • Quantitative Trait Loci
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled


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