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Photoperiodism and photocontrol of stem elongation in two photomorphogenic mutants of Pisum sativum L.

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The photomorphogenic mutation lv in the garden pea (Pisum sativum L.), which appears to reduce the response to light-stable phytochrome, has been isolated on a tall, late photoperiodic genetic background and its effects further characterised. Plants possessing lv have a reduced flowering response to photoperiod relative to wild-type plants, indicating that light-stable phytochrome may have a flower-inhibitory role in the flowering response of long-day plants to photoperiod. In general, lv plants are longer and have reduced leaf development relative to Lv plants. These differences are maximised under continuous light from fluorescent lamps (containing negligible far-red (FR) light), and decrease with addition of FR to the incident light. Enrichment of white light from fluorescent lamps with FR promotes stem elongation in the wild type but causes a reduction in elongation in the lv mutant. This “negative” shade-avoidance response appears to be the consequence of a strong inhibitory effect of light rich in FR, revealed in lv plants in the absence of a normal response to red (R) light. These results indicate that the wild-type response to the R: FR ratio may be comprised of two distinct photoresponses, one in which FR supplementation promotes elongation by reducing the inhibitory effect of R, and the other in which light rich in FR actively inhibits elongation. This hypothesis is discussed in relation to functional differentiation of phytochrome types in the light-grown plant. Gene lw has been reported previously to reduce internode length and the response to gibberellin A1, and to delay flowering. The present study shows that the lw mutation confers an increased response to photoperiod. In all these responses the lw phenotype is superficially “opposite” to the lv phenotype. The possibility that the mutation might primarily affect light perception was therefore considered. The degree of dwarfing of lw plants was found to depend upon light quality and quantity. Dwarfing is more extreme in plants grown under continuous R light than in those grown in continuous FR or blue light or in darkness. Studies of the fluence-rate response show that the lw mutation imparts a lower fluence requirement for inhibition of elongation by white light from fluorescent lamps. Dark-grown lw plants are more strongly inhibited by a R pulse than are wild-type plants but, as in the wild type, this inhibition remains reversible by FR. Light-grown lw plants show an exaggerated elongation response to end-of-day FR light. Taken together, these findings indicate that the lw mutant may be hypersensitive to phytochrome action.

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blue light




end-of-day far-red light


far-red light



Pfr :

far-redlight-absorbing form of phytochrome

phyA, phyB:

phytochromes A, B


red light


white light


wild type


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Additional information

We thank Dr. T.A. La Rue and Dr. K.K. Sidorova for provision of seed, Katherine McPherson, Peter Bobbi, Leigh Johnson, Heidi Dungey and Douglas Madden for technical assistance, Dr. J.J. Ross for helpful discussion and critical reading of the manuscript, and the Australian Research Council for financial assistance. J.L.W. is in receipt of an Australian Postgraduate Research scholarship.

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Weller, J.L., Reid, J.B. Photoperiodism and photocontrol of stem elongation in two photomorphogenic mutants of Pisum sativum L.. Planta 189, 15–23 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00201338

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Key words

  • Elongation (stem)
  • Light (red: far-red ratio, end-of-day far-red)
  • Mutant (photomorphogenic)
  • Photoperiodism (flowering)
  • Phytochrome (response)
  • Pisum (mutant, photoperiodism)