Plant Cell.: auth.: group Fankhauser, co-auth.: I.Xenarios

Plant Cell. 2016 Dec 6. pii: tpc.00463.2016. [Epub ahead of print]

Neighbor Detection Induces Organ-specific Transcriptomes, Revealing Patterns Underlying Hypocotyl-specific Growth.


In response to neighbor proximity, plants increase the growth of specific organs (e.g., hypocotyls) to enhance access to sunlight. Shade enhances the activity of Phytochrome Interacting Factors (PIFs) by releasing these bHLH transcription factors from phytochrome B-mediated inhibition. PIFs promote elongation by inducing auxin production in cotyledons. In order to elucidate spatiotemporal aspects of the neighbor proximity response, we separately analyzed gene expression patterns in the major light-sensing organ (cotyledons) and in rapidly elongating hypocotyls of Arabidopsis thaliana. PIFs initiate transcriptional reprogramming in both organs within 15 minutes, comprising regulated expression of several early auxin response genes. This suggests that hypocotyl growth is elicited by both local and distal auxin signals. We show that cotyledon-derived auxin is both necessary and sufficient to initiate hypocotyl growth, but we also provide evidence for the functional importance of the local PIF-induced response. With time, the transcriptional response diverges increasingly between organs. We identify genes whose differential expression may underlie organ-specific elongation. Finally, we uncover a growth promotion gene expression signature shared between different developmentally regulated growth processes and responses to the environment in different organs.