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author:("Yu, duzhong")
1.  Pleiotropy of FRIGIDA enhances the potential for multivariate adaptation 
An evolutionary response to selection requires genetic variation; however, even if it exists, then the genetic details of the variation can constrain adaptation. In the simplest case, unlinked loci and uncorrelated phenotypes respond directly to multivariate selection and permit unrestricted paths to adaptive peaks. By contrast, ‘antagonistic’ pleiotropic loci may constrain adaptation by affecting variation of many traits and limiting the direction of trait correlations to vectors that are not favoured by selection. However, certain pleiotropic configurations may improve the conditions for adaptive evolution. Here, we present evidence that the Arabidopsis thaliana gene FRI (FRIGIDA) exhibits ‘adaptive’ pleiotropy, producing trait correlations along an axis that results in two adaptive strategies. Derived, low expression FRI alleles confer a ‘drought escape’ strategy owing to fast growth, low water use efficiency and early flowering. By contrast, a dehydration avoidance strategy is conferred by the ancestral phenotype of late flowering, slow growth and efficient water use during photosynthesis. The dehydration avoidant phenotype was recovered when genotypes with null FRI alleles were transformed with functional alleles. Our findings indicate that the well-documented effects of FRI on phenology result from differences in physiology, not only a simple developmental switch.
doi:10.1098/rspb.2013.1043
PMCID: PMC3774242  PMID: 23698015
drought; Arabidopsis thaliana; water use efficiency; flowering time
2.  The Cryptochrome Blue Light Receptors 
Cryptochromes are photolyase-like blue light receptors originally discovered in Arabidopsis but later found in other plants, microbes, and animals. Arabidopsis has two cryptochromes, CRY1 and CRY2, which mediate primarily blue light inhibition of hypocotyl elongation and photoperiodic control of floral initiation, respectively. In addition, cryptochromes also regulate over a dozen other light responses, including circadian rhythms, tropic growth, stomata opening, guard cell development, root development, bacterial and viral pathogen responses, abiotic stress responses, cell cycles, programmed cell death, apical dominance, fruit and ovule development, seed dormancy, and magnetoreception. Cryptochromes have two domains, the N-terminal PHR (Photolyase-Homologous Region) domain that bind the chromophore FAD (flavin adenine dinucleotide), and the CCE (CRY C-terminal Extension) domain that appears intrinsically unstructured but critical to the function and regulation of cryptochromes. Most cryptochromes accumulate in the nucleus, and they undergo blue light-dependent phosphorylation or ubiquitination. It is hypothesized that photons excite electrons of the flavin molecule, resulting in redox reaction or circular electron shuttle and conformational changes of the photoreceptors. The photoexcited cryptochrome are phosphorylated to adopt an open conformation, which interacts with signaling partner proteins to alter gene expression at both transcriptional and posttranslational levels and consequently the metabolic and developmental programs of plants.
PMCID: PMC3155252  PMID: 21841916
3.  The Cryptochrome Blue Light Receptors 
Cryptochromes are photolyase-like blue light receptors originally discovered in Arabidopsis but later found in other plants, microbes, and animals. Arabidopsis has two cryptochromes, CRY1 and CRY2, which mediate primarily blue light inhibition of hypocotyl elongation and photoperiodic control of floral initiation, respectively. In addition, cryptochromes also regulate over a dozen other light responses, including circadian rhythms, tropic growth, stomata opening, guard cell development, root development, bacterial and viral pathogen responses, abiotic stress responses, cell cycles, programmed cell death, apical dominance, fruit and ovule development, seed dormancy, and magnetoreception. Cryptochromes have two domains, the N-terminal PHR (Photolyase-Homologous Region) domain that bind the chromophore FAD (flavin adenine dinucleotide), and the CCE (CRY C-terminal Extension) domain that appears intrinsically unstructured but critical to the function and regulation of cryptochromes. Most cryptochromes accumulate in the nucleus, and they undergo blue light-dependent phosphorylation or ubiquitination. It is hypothesized that photons excite electrons of the flavin molecule, resulting in redox reaction or circular electron shuttle and conformational changes of the photoreceptors. The photoexcited cryptochrome are phosphorylated to adopt an open conformation, which interacts with signaling partner proteins to alter gene expression at both transcriptional and posttranslational levels and consequently the metabolic and developmental programs of plants.
doi:10.1199/tab.0135
PMCID: PMC3155252  PMID: 21841916
4.  A photoreceptor going nowhere but the nucleus 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2008;3(5):331-332.
Cryptochrome 2 (CRY2) is a blue/UV-A light receptor that regulates light inhibition of cell elongation and photoperiodic promotion of floral initiation in Arabidopsis. We and others have previously shown that CRY2 is a nuclear protein that regulates gene expression to affect plant development. We also showed that CRY2 is phosphorylated in response to blue light and the phosphorylated CRY2 is most likely active and degraded in blue light. Given that protein translation (and probably chromophore attachment) takes place in the cytosol and that a photoreceptor would absorb photon instantaneously, it would be interesting to know where those inter-connected events occur in the cell. Our results showed that freshly synthesized CRY2 photoreceptor is inactive in the cytosol although it may be photon-excited, it is imported into the nucleus where the photoreceptor is phosphorylated, performs its function, becomes ubiquitinated, and eventually gets degraded (Fig. 1).1 To our knowledge, this is the first example in any organism that a photoreceptor is shown to complete its post-translational life cycle in a single subcellular compartment.
PMCID: PMC2634274  PMID: 19841662
blue light; cryptochrome; ubiquitination; phosphorylation; Arabidopsis

Results 1-4 (4)