Light responses


Plant responses to light are multiple. Light is an energy source, converted to sugars by photosynthesis. It is also a signal sensed by specific photoreceptors for red, blue and UV-B radiation. Absence of light leads to a developmental program called etiolation. Excess of light constitutes a form of abiotic stress.

Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    Buried seedlings must grow both strongly, to push through soil to the surface, and fast, to reach the light as quickly as possible. A recent study finds that a pair of sequentially acting E3 ubiquitin ligases balances these conflicting imperatives.

    • Jorge J. Casal
    Nature Plants 2, 16001
  • News and Views |

    Unable to run away, plants adapt to environmental changes by adjusting their development. Two recent publications explore the unexpected contribution of blue light photoreceptors in the growth response to shade and warm temperatures.

    • Ziqiang Zhu
    •  & Chentao Lin
    Nature Plants 2, 16019
  • News and Views |

    The steroid hormones found in plants, the brassinosteroids, were originally genetically identified about 15 years ago as critical regulators of seedling photomorphogenesis. Two studies now shed light on the molecular mechanisms behind this observation. Brassinosteroids control seedling morphogenesis through direct interaction with master transcriptional regulators downstream of growth-promoting hormones and light signalling.

    • Yvon Jaillais
    •  & Grégory Vert
    Nature Cell Biology 14, 788–790
  • News and Views |

    Plants reach for the sun by avoiding the shade and by directly growing towards the light. Two studies now suggest that the polar relocation of PIN3, a transporter directing the flow of the plant hormone auxin, drives both growth processes. PIN3 repolarization occurs downstream of shade perception through phytochrome photoreceptors, whereas blue light perceived by phototropin initiates polar recycling of PIN3 and growth towards the light.

    • Markus Grebe
    Nature Cell Biology 13, 347–349