Light signals regulate a plethora of plant responses throughout their life cycle, especially the red and far-red regions of the light spectrum perceived by the phytochrome family of photoreceptors. However, the mechanisms by which phytochromes regulate gene expression and downstream responses remain elusive. Several recent studies have unraveled the details on how phytochromes regulate photomorphogenesis. These include the identification of E3 ligases that degrade PHYTOCHROME INTERACTING FACTOR (PIF) proteins, key negative regulators, in response to light, a better view of how phytochromes inhibit another key negative regulator, CONSTITUTIVELY PHOTOMORPHOGENIC 1 (COP1), and an understanding of why plants evolved multiple negative regulators to repress photomorphogenesis in darkness. These advances will surely fuel future research on many unanswered questions that have intrigued plant photobiologists for decades.
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