Phase response of the Arabidopsis thaliana circadian clock to light pulses of different wavelengths

J Biol Rhythms. 2015 Apr;30(2):95-103. doi: 10.1177/0748730415576426.


Light is known as one of the most powerful environmental time cues for the circadian system. The quality of light is characterized by its intensity and wavelength. We examined how the phase response of Arabidopsis thaliana depends on the wavelength of the stimulus light and the type of light perturbation. Using transgenic A. thaliana expressing a luciferase gene, we monitored the rhythm of the bioluminescence signal. We stimulated the plants under constant red light using 3 light perturbation treatments: (1) increasing the red light intensity, (2) turning on a blue light while turning off the red light, and (3) turning on a blue light while keeping the red light on. To examine the phase response properties, we generated a phase transition curve (PTC), which plots the phase after the perturbation as a function of the phase before the perturbation. To evaluate the effect of the 3 light perturbation treatments, we simulated PTCs using a mathematical model of the plant circadian clock and fitted the simulated PTCs to the experimentally measured PTCs. Among the 3 treatments, perturbation (3) provided the strongest stimulus. The results indicate that the color of the stimulus light and the type of pulse administration affect the phase response in a complex manner. Moreover, the results suggest the involvement of interaction between red and blue light signaling pathways in resetting of the plant circadian clock.

Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; light wavelength; mathematical model; parameter estimation; phase transition curve; plant circadian rhythm.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Circadian Clocks / physiology*
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Color
  • Light Signal Transduction*
  • Light*
  • Luciferases / genetics
  • Luminescent Measurements
  • Plants, Genetically Modified


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Luciferases