Changes in resource partitioning between and within organs support growth adjustment to neighbor proximity in Brassicaceae seedlings.
In shade-intolerant plants, the perception of proximate neighbors rapidly induces architectural changes resulting in elongated stems and reduced leaf size. Sensing and signaling steps triggering this modified growth program have been identified. However, the underlying changes in resource allocation that fuel stem growth remain poorly understood. Through 14CO2 pulse labeling of Brassica rapa seedlings, we show that perception of the neighbor detection signal, low ratio of red to far-red light (R:FR), leads to increased carbon allocation from the major site of photosynthesis (cotyledons) to the elongating hypocotyl. While carbon fixation and metabolite levels remain similar in low R:FR, partitioning to all downstream carbon pools within the hypocotyl is increased. Genetic analyses using Arabidopsis thaliana mutants indicate that low-R:FR-induced hypocotyl elongation requires sucrose transport from the cotyledons and is regulated by a PIF7-dependent metabolic response. Moreover, our data suggest that starch metabolism in the hypocotyl has a growth-regulatory function. The results reveal a key mechanism by which metabolic adjustments can support rapid growth adaptation to a changing environment.
PIF7; neighbor proximity detection; phytochrome B; resource partitioning; starch
- PMID: 30275313