PerspectivePlant Science

How Plants See the Invisible

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Science  23 Mar 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6075, pp. 1451-1452
DOI: 10.1126/science.1220248

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Light is a key stimulus for biological function, controlling movement, gene expression, development, circadian clocks, and many other activities across virtually every form of life. This regulation is achieved by families of photosensory receptor proteins, each of which converts light of different wavelengths into biochemical signals that can control biological function. This conversion is well understood for photosensors sensitive to visible light (wavelengths λ = 400 to 700 nm), but far less is known about photoreception outside this range. On page 1492 of this issue, Christie et al. (1) elucidate the mechanism by which plant receptors detect light in the middle of the ultraviolet (UV) portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.