Phytochrome B and PCH1 protein dynamics store night temperature information

Plant J. 2021 Jan;105(1):22-33. doi: 10.1111/tpj.15034. Epub 2020 Nov 24.


Plants experience temperature fluctuations during the course of the daily cycle, and although stem growth responds rapidly to these changes we largely ignore whether there is a short-term memory of previous conditions. Here we show that nighttime temperatures affect the growth of the hypocotyl of Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings not only during the night but also during the subsequent photoperiod. Active phytochrome B (phyB) represses nighttime growth and warm temperatures reduce active phyB via thermal reversion. The function of PHOTOPERIODIC CONTROL OF HYPOCOTYL1 (PCH1) is to stabilise active phyB in nuclear bodies but, surprisingly, warmth reduces PCH1 gene expression and PCH1 stability. When phyB was active at the beginning of the night, warm night temperatures enhanced the levels of nuclear phyB and reduced hypocotyl growth rate during the following day. However, when end-of-day far-red light minimised phyB activity, warm night temperatures reduced the levels of nuclear phyB and enhanced the hypocotyl growth rate during the following day. This complex growth pattern was absent in the phyB mutant. We propose that temperature-induced changes in the levels of PCH1 and in the size of the physiologically relevant nuclear pool of phyB amplify the impact of phyB-mediated temperature sensing.

Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; PHOTOPERIODIC CONTROL OF HYPOCOTYL1; phytochrome B; shade; thermomorphogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis / physiology
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Metallochaperones / metabolism*
  • Metallochaperones / physiology
  • Photoperiod
  • Phytochrome B / metabolism*
  • Phytochrome B / physiology
  • Seedlings / metabolism
  • Seedlings / physiology
  • Temperature


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Metallochaperones
  • PCH1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Phytochrome B