COP1/SPA ubiquitin ligase complexes repress anthocyanin accumulation under low light and high light conditions

Plant Signal Behav. 2015;10(1):e970440. doi: 10.4161/15592316.2014.970440.


In Arabidopsis and many other plant species, anthocyanin pigments accumulate only after light exposure and not in darkness. Excess light of very high fluence rates leads to a further, very strong increase in anthocyanin levels. How excess light is sensed is not well understood. Here, we show that mutations in the key repressor of light signaling, the COP1/SPA complex, cause a strong hyperaccumulation of anthocyanins not only under normal light but also under excess, high light conditions. Hence, normal light signaling via COP1/SPA is required to prevent hyperaccumulation of anthocyanins under these high light conditions. However, since cop1 and spa mutants show a similar high-light responsiveness of anthocyanin accumulation as the wild type it remains to be resolved whether COP1/SPA is directly involved in the high-light response itself.

Keywords: COP1, constitutive photomorphogenic 1; COP1/SPA; CRY1, cryptochrome 1; HY5, elongated hypocotyl 5; PAP, production of anthocyanin pigment; SPA, supressor of phytochrome A-105; anthocyanin; high light; light; photomorphogenesis; signaling; stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anthocyanins / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis / radiation effects
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / radiation effects*
  • Light*
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / genetics
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / metabolism*


  • Anthocyanins
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • AT2G32950 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases