Plants optimize their growth in fluctuating environments using information acquired by different organs. This information is then transmitted through the rest of the plant using both short- and long-distance signals, including hormones and mobile proteins. Although a few of these signals have been characterized, long-distance signaling is not well understood in plants. Recently, the light-regulated transcription factor HY5 was reported to move from the shoot to the root to regulate root growth. We generated a cell-type specifically expressed HY5 fusion protein that could not be detected outside the tissue in which it was targeted. By expressing this DOF-HY5 protein in specific cell types of the hypocotyl, we showed that its local activity was sufficient to regulate hypocotyl growth. We also found that, although DOF-HY5 was expressed specifically in the shoot and not detected in the roots, it could rescue hy5 growth defects in primary roots but not in lateral roots. We therefore conclude that HY5 protein mobility is not required in the hypocotyl or for shoot-to-root communication. Our results indicate that a signal downstream of, or in parallel with, HY5 in the shoot is mobile and links shoot and root growth.
Keywords: Arabidopsis; HY5; hypocotyl; lateral root; root; shoot-to-root communication.