PLoS Genet. 2022 May 27;18(5):e1010213. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1010213. eCollection 2022 May.
Shade suppresses wound-induced leaf repositioning through a mechanism involving PHYTOCHROME KINASE SUBSTRATE (PKS) genes
Shaded plants challenged with herbivores or pathogens prioritize growth over defense. However, most experiments have focused on the effect of shading light cues on defense responses. To investigate the potential interaction between shade-avoidance and wounding-induced Jasmonate (JA)-mediated signaling on leaf growth and movement, we used repetitive mechanical wounding of leaf blades to mimic herbivore attacks. Phenotyping experiments with combined treatments on Arabidopsis thaliana rosettes revealed that shade strongly inhibits the wound effect on leaf elevation. By contrast, petiole length is reduced by wounding both in the sun and in the shade. Thus, the relationship between the shade and wounding/JA pathways varies depending on the physiological response, implying that leaf growth and movement can be uncoupled. Using RNA-sequencing, we identified genes with expression patterns matching the hyponastic response (opposite regulation by both stimuli, interaction between treatments with shade dominating the wound signal). Among them were genes from the PKS (Phytochrome Kinase Substrate) family, which was previously studied for its role in phototropism and leaf positioning. Interestingly, we observed reduced shade suppression of the wounding effect in pks2pks4 double mutants while a PKS4 overexpressing line showed constitutively elevated leaves and was less sensitive to wounding. Our results indicate a trait-specific interrelationship between shade and wounding cues on Arabidopsis leaf growth and positioning. Moreover, we identify PKS genes as integrators of external cues in the control of leaf hyponasty further emphasizing the role of these genes in aerial organ positioning.