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The F-Box Protein MAX2 Functions As A Positive Regulator Of Photomorphogenesis In Arabidopsis

Hui Shen, Phi Luong, Enamul Huq

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AbstractLight is vital for plant growth and development. To respond to ambient light signals, plants are equipped with an array of photoreceptors, including phytochromes that sense red (R)/far-R (FR) regions and cryptochromes and phototropins that respond to the ultraviolet-A/blue (B) region of the light spectrum, respectively. Several positively and negatively acting components in light-signaling pathways have been identified using genetic approaches; however, the pathways are not saturated. Here, we characterize a new mutant named pleiotropic photosignaling (pps), isolated from a genetic screen under continuous R light. pps has longer hypocotyls and slightly smaller cotyledons under continuous R, FR, and B light compared to that of the wild type. pps is also hyposensitive to both R and FR light-induced seed germination. Although photosynthetic marker genes are constitutively expressed in pps in the dark at high levels, the expression of early light-regulated genes is reduced in the pps seedlings compared to wild-type seedlings under R light. PPS encodes MAX2/ORE9 (for MORE AXILLARY BRANCHES2/ORESARA9), an F-box protein involved in inflorescence architecture and senescence. MAX2 is expressed ubiquitously in the seedling stage. However, its expression is restricted to vascular tissues and meristems at adult stages. MAX2 is also localized to the nucleus. As an F-box protein, MAX2 is predicted to be a component of the SCF (for SKP, Cullin, and F-box protein) complex involved in regulated proteolysis. These results suggest that SCFMAX2 plays critical roles in R, FR, and B light-signaling pathways. In addition, MAX2 might regulate multiple targets at different developmental stages to optimize plant growth and development.