Journal Article

Green light: a signal to slow down or stop

Kevin M. Folta and Stefanie A. Maruhnich

in Journal of Experimental Botany

Published on behalf of Society for Experimental Biology

Volume 58, issue 12, pages 3099-3111
Published in print September 2007 | ISSN: 0022-0957
Published online July 2007 | e-ISSN: 1460-2431 | DOI:
Green light: a signal to slow down or stop

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  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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Light has a profound effect on plant growth and development. Red and blue light best drive photosynthetic metabolism, so it is no surprise that these light qualities are particularly efficient in advancing the developmental characteristics associated with autotrophic growth habits. Photosynthetically inefficient light qualities also impart important environmental information to a developing plant. For example, far-red light reverses the effect of phytochromes, leading to changes in gene expression, plant architecture, and reproductive responses. Recent evidence shows that green light also has discrete effects on plant biology, and the mechanisms that sense this light quality are now being elucidated. Green light has been shown to affect plant processes via cryptochrome-dependent and cryptochrome-independent means. Generally, the effects of green light oppose those directed by red and blue wavebands. This review examines the literature where green light has been implicated in physiological or developmental outcomes, many not easily attributable to known sensory systems. Here roles of green light in the regulation of vegetative development, photoperiodic flowering, stomatal opening, stem growth modulation, chloroplast gene expression and plant stature are discussed, drawing from data gathered over the last 50 years of plant photobiological research. Together these reports support a conclusion that green light sensory systems adjust development and growth in orchestration with red and blue sensors.

Keywords: Photomorphogenesis; phytochrome; plant development

Journal Article.  8959 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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