PHYTOCHROME INTERACTING FACTOR8 Inhibits Phytochrome A-Mediated Far-Red Light Responses in Arabidopsis

PHYTOCHROME INTERACTING FACTORs (PIFs) are a group of basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors that repress plant light responses. PIF8 is one of the less-characterized Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) PIFs, whose putative orthologs are conserved in other plant species. PIF8 possesses a bHLH motif and an active phytochrome B motif but not an active phytochrome A motif. Consistent with this motif composition, PIF8 binds to G-box elements and interacts with the Pfr form of phyB but only very weakly, if at all, with that of phyA. PIF8 differs, however, from other PIFs in its protein accumulation pattern and functional roles in different light conditions. First, PIF8 inhibits phyA-induced seed germination, suppression of hypocotyl elongation, and randomization of hypocotyl growth orientation in far-red light, but it does not inhibit phyB-induced red light responses. Second, PIF8 protein accumulates more in far-red light than in darkness or red light. This is distinct from the pattern observed with PIF3, which accumulates more in darkness. This PIF8 accumulation pattern requires degradation of PIF8 by CONSTITUTIVE PHOTOMORPHOGENIC1 (COP1) in darkness, inhibition of COP1 by phyA in far-red light, and promotion of PIF8 degradation by phyB in red light. Together, our results indicate that PIF8 is a genuine PIF that represses phyA-mediated light responses.

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