PLoS genetics

Photoactivated UVR8-COP1 module determines photomorphogenic UV-B signaling output in Arabidopsis.

PMID 24651064


In Arabidopsis, ultraviolet (UV)-B-induced photomorphogenesis is initiated by a unique photoreceptor UV resistance locus 8 (UVR8) which utilizes its tryptophan residues as internal chromophore to sense UV-B. As a result of UV-B light perception, the UVR8 homodimer shaped by its arginine residues undergoes a conformational switch of monomerization. Then UVR8 associates with the constitutively photomorphogenic 1-suppressor of PHYA (COP1-SPA) core complex(es) that is released from the cullin 4-damaged dna binding protein 1 (CUL4-DDB1) E3 apparatus. This association, in turn, causes COP1 to convert from a repressor to a promoter of photomorphogenesis. It is not fully understood, however, regarding the biological significance of light-absorbing and dimer-stabilizing residues for UVR8 activity in photomorphogenic UV-B signaling. Here, we take advantage of transgenic UVR8 variants to demonstrate that two light-absorbing tryptophans, W233 and W285, and two dimer-stabilizing arginines, R286 and R338, play pivotal roles in UV-B-induced photomorphogenesis. Mutation of each residue results in alterations in UV-B light perception, UVR8 monomerization and UVR8-COP1 association in response to photomorphogenic UV-B. We also identify and functionally characterize two constitutively active UVR8 variants, UVR8W285A and UVR8R338A, whose photobiological activities are enhanced by the repression of CUL4, a negative regulator in this pathway. Based on our molecular and biochemical evidence, we propose that the UVR8-COP1 affinity in plants critically determines the photomorphogenic UV-B signal transduction coupling with UVR8-mediated UV-B light perception.