COP1 and ELF3 control circadian function and photoperiodic flowering by regulating GI stability

Mol Cell. 2008 Dec 5;32(5):617-30. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2008.09.026.


Seasonal changes in day length are perceived by plant photoreceptors and transmitted to the circadian clock to modulate developmental responses such as flowering time. Blue-light-sensing cryptochromes, the E3 ubiquitin-ligase COP1, and clock-associated proteins ELF3 and GI regulate this process, although the regulatory link between them is unclear. Here we present data showing that COP1 acts with ELF3 to mediate day length signaling from CRY2 to GI within the photoperiod flowering pathway. We found that COP1 and ELF3 interact in vivo and show that ELF3 allows COP1 to interact with GI in vivo, leading to GI degradation in planta. Accordingly, mutation of COP1 or ELF3 disturbs the pattern of GI cyclic accumulation. We propose a model in which ELF3 acts as a substrate adaptor, enabling COP1 to modulate light input signal to the circadian clock through targeted destabilization of GI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Flowers / genetics
  • Flowers / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genes, Plant
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Photoperiod*
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Protein Stability
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / metabolism*
  • Ubiquitination


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • ELF3 protein, Arabidopsis
  • GI protein, Arabidopsis
  • Transcription Factors
  • AT2G32950 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex