Developmental plasticity enables plants to respond to elevated ambient temperatures by adapting their shoot architecture. On the cellular level, the basic-helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor phytochrome interacting factor 4 (PIF4) coordinates this response by activating hormonal modules that in turn regulate growth. In addition to an unknown temperature-sensing mechanism, it is currently not understood how temperature regulates PIF4 activity. Using a forward genetic approach in Arabidopsis thaliana, we present extensive genetic evidence demonstrating that the de-etiolated 1 (DET1)-constitutive photomorphogenic 1 (COP1)-elongated hypocotyl 5 (HY5)-dependent photomorphogenesis pathway transcriptionally regulates PIF4 to coordinate seedling growth in response to elevated temperature. Our findings demonstrate that two of the most prevalent environmental cues, light and temperature, share a much larger set of signaling components than previously assumed. Similar to the toolbox concept in animal embryonic patterning, multipurpose signaling modules might have evolved in plants to translate various environmental stimuli into adaptational growth processes.
Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.