Function of phytochrome A in potato plants as revealed through the study of transgenic plants.
We have generated transgenic potato plants (Solanum tuberosum) containing the potato phytochrome protein encoded by the PHYA gene cDNA (phyA) in sense or antisense orientation under the control of the 35S cauliflower mosaic virus promoter. Plants with increased and decreased phyA levels were analyzed. When grown under white light, development and growth of sprouts and plants were barely distinguishable from wild type. Under continuous far-red light, stem extension, leaf expansion, and hook opening of sprouts were accelerated in phyA overexpressors and delayed in antisense plants. Sprouts with reduced phyA levels were less sensitive to red light with regard to stem extension and expression of the small subunit genes for ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase. Under low red light:far-red light ratios, increased phyA levels reduced the stem extension component of the shade-avoidance response, whereas decreased levels led to an increase in the response.