Are plants afraid of the dark?

Light plays a central role in the life of the plant, providing an energy source to make sugars out of CO2 and water. But what happens when the plant can’t get enough sunlight? What if some or all of their leaves get stuck in a dark patch? Being the masters of coping with environmental stress, plants have a couple different strategies to overcome such limitations. A recent paper in Plant Physiology shed some light on the molecular aspects of these strategies (“Darkened Leaves Use Different Metabolic Strategies for Senescence and Survival”). What did they find? And how can we best make use of these new data sets?

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References:

Irving DE, Silsbury JH (1988) The Respiration of Mature Field Bean (Vicia faba L.) Leaves During Prolonged Darkness. Ann Bot 62: 473-479

Law SR et al. (2018) Darkened Leaves Use Different Metabolic Strategies for Senescence and Survival. Plant Physiol 177: 132-150

Weaver LM, Amasino RM (2001) Senescence Is Induced in Individually Darkened Arabidopsis Leaves, but Inhibited in Whole Darkened Plants. Plant Physiol 127: 876-886

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