Ambient temperature regulates many aspects of plant growth and development, but its sensors are unknown. Here, we demonstrate that the phytochrome B (phyB) photoreceptor participates in temperature perception through its temperature-dependent reversion from the active Pfr state to the inactive Pr state. Increased rates of thermal reversion upon exposing Arabidopsis seedlings to warm environments reduce both the abundance of the biologically active Pfr-Pfr dimer pool of phyB and the size of the associated nuclear bodies, even in daylight. Mathematical analysis of stem growth for seedlings expressing wild-type phyB or thermally stable variants under various combinations of light and temperature revealed that phyB is physiologically responsive to both signals. We therefore propose that in addition to its photoreceptor functions, phyB is a temperature sensor in plants.
Copyright © 2016, American Association for the Advancement of Science.