Arabidopsis FAR-RED ELONGATED HYPOCOTYL3 Integrates Age and Light Signals to Negatively Regulate Leaf Senescence

Leaf senescence is tightly regulated by numerous internal cues and external environmental signals. The process of leaf senescence is promoted by a low ratio of red to far-red (R:FR) light, FR light, or extended darkness and is repressed by a high ratio of R:FR light or R light. However, the precise regulatory mechanisms by which plants assess external light signals and their internal cues to initiate and control the process of leaf senescence remain largely unknown. In this study, we discovered that the light-signaling protein FAR-RED ELONGATED HYPOCOTYL3 (FHY3) negatively regulates age-induced and light-mediated leaf senescence in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). FHY3 directly binds to the promoter region of transcription factor gene WRKY28 to repress its expression, thus negatively regulating salicylic acid biosynthesis and senescence. Both the fhy3 loss-of-function mutant and WRKY28-overexpressing Arabidopsis plants exhibited early senescence under high R:FR light conditions, indicating that the FHY3–WRKY28 transcriptional module specifically prevents leaf senescence under high R:FR light conditions. This study reveals the physiological and molecular functions of FHY3 and WRKY28 in leaf senescence and provides insight into the regulatory mechanism by which plants integrate dynamic environmental light signals and internal cues to initiate and control leaf senescence.

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