News of the WeekPlant Science

How Seedlings See the Light

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Science  17 Aug 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5533, pp. 1237-1238
DOI: 10.1126/science.293.5533.1237a

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Exactly how light touches off the chain of events that converts a ghostly pale seedling into a green, photosynthesizing plant has long been a mystery. Now, a team of scientists has uncovered a surprisingly simple three-step pathway involving blue light that solves part of the mystery. In a report published online this week by Science (, they show that in the plant Arabidopsis thaliana, the photoreceptors that detect blue light interact directly with a protein known to regulate light responses in plants. This suggests that the light signal may be transmitted to that protein without the intercession of other proteins.