Functional characterization of blue-light-induced responses and PHOTOTROPIN 1 gene in Welwitschia mirabilis

Kazuhiro Ishishita, Noriyuki Suetsugu, Yuki Hirose, Takeshi Higa, Michio Doi, Masamitsu Wada, Tomonao Matsushita, Eiji Gotoh

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11 Citations (Scopus)


The blue light (BL) receptor phototropin (phot) is specifically found in green plants; it regulates various BL-induced responses such as phototropism, chloroplast movement, stomatal opening, and leaf flattening. In Arabidopsis thaliana, two phototropins—phot1 and phot2—respond to blue light in overlapping but distinct ways. These BL-receptor-mediated responses enhance the photosynthetic activity of plants under weak light and minimize photodamage under strong light conditions. Welwitschia mirabilis Hook.f. found in the Namib Desert, and it has adapted to severe environmental stresses such as limiting water and strong sunlight. Although the plant has physiologically and ecologically unique features, it is unknown whether phototropin is functional in this plant. In this study, we assessed the functioning of phot-mediated BL responses in W. mirabilis. BL-dependent phototropism and stomatal opening was observed but light-dependent chloroplast movement was not detected. We performed a functional analysis of the PHOT1 gene of W. mirabilis,WmPHOT1, in Arabidopsis thaliana. We generated transgenic A. thaliana lines expressing WmPHOT1 in a phot1 phot2 double mutant background. Several Wmphot1 transgenic plants showed normal growth, although phot1 phot2 double mutant plants showed stunted growth. Furthermore, Wmphot1 transgenic plants showed normal phot1-mediated responses including phototropism, chloroplast accumulation, stomatal opening, and leaf flattening, but lacked the chloroplast avoidance response that is specifically mediated by phot2. Thus, our findings indicate that W. mirabilis possesses typical phot-mediated BL responses that were at least partially mediated by functional phototropin 1, an ortholog of Atphot1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-187
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Plant Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Plant Science


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