Plants respond to neighbor shade by increasing stem and petiole elongation. Shade, sensed by phytochrome photoreceptors, causes stabilization of PHYTOCHROME INTERACTING FACTOR proteins and subsequent induction of YUCCA auxin biosynthetic genes. To investigate the role of YUCCA genes in phytochrome-mediated elongation, we examined auxin signaling kinetics after an end-of-day far-red (EOD-FR) light treatment, and found that an auxin responsive reporter is rapidly induced within 2 hours of far-red exposure. YUCCA2, 5, 8, and 9 are all induced with similar kinetics suggesting that they could act redundantly to control shade-mediated elongation. To test this hypothesis we constructed a yucca2, 5, 8, 9 quadruple mutant and found that the hypocotyl and petiole EOD-FR and shade avoidance responses are completely disrupted. This work shows that YUCCA auxin biosynthetic genes are essential for detectable shade avoidance and that YUCCA genes are important for petiole shade avoidance.
Keywords: Auxin; Photomorphogenesis; Phytochrome; Shade avoidance.