Light regulation of plant development

Light regulation of plant development

Group Leaders
Jaume Martinez-Garcia
CSIC Associate Professor
Group Members
Light-control of plant development group

Postdoctoral Researchers

PhD Students

Undergrad or Master Students


From the different light-regulated plant development responses, our laboratory is interested in understanding how plants respond to vegetation proximity, a type of plant-plant communication. In Arabidopsis thaliana, a sun-loving plant that avoids vegetation proximity and shade, perception of neighboring vegetation results in the activation of a set of responses known as the shade avoidance syndrome (SAS). The most obvious SAS response is the induction of the hypocotyl elongation in seedlings. After identifying several SAS regulatory components, we established that they are organized in complex transcriptional regulatory networks in which the levels of several components are rapidly altered after plant proximity perception. This network is formed by a broad range of transcription factors and cofactors, as well as specific components of the nuclear pore complex. Recently, we have expanded our research to other plant species closely related to A. thaliana that tolerate (instead of avoid) plant shade, as is the case of Cardamine hirsuta, a species susceptible to be used in both reverse and forward genetics because it can be genetically transformed. Our comparative genetic analyses between both species led us to conclude that C. hirsuta tolerates plant shade by hyperactivating mechanisms that suppress hypocotyl elongation in response to shade. These mechanisms involve the participation of at least two negative regulatory components already working in A. thaliana

Selected Publications

Molina-Contreras, M.J., Paulišić, S., Then, C., Moreno-Romero, J., Pastor-Andreu, P., Morelli, L., Roig-Villanova, I., Jenkins, H., Hallab, A., Gan, X., Gomez-Cadenas, A., Tsiantis, M., Rodríguez-Concepción, M., Martínez-García, J.F.
Photoreceptor Activity Contributes to Contrasting Responses to Shade in Cardamine and Arabidopsis Seedlings
(2019) The Plant Cell, vol. 31 (11), pp. 2649 -2663

Ortiz-Alcaide M, Llamas E, Gómez-Cadenas A, Nagatani A, Martinez-Garcia JF*, Rodriguez-Concepcion M* 
Chloroplasts modulate elongation responses to canopy shade by retrograde pathways involving HY5 and ABA. 
(2019) The Plant Cell 31:384–398

Gallemí, M., Molina-Contreras, M.J., Paulišić, S., Salla-Martret, M., Sorin, Ç., Godoy, M., Franco-Zorrilla, J.M., Solano, R., Martínez-Garçıa, J.F.
A non-DNA-binding activity for the ATHB4 transcription factor in the control of vegetation proximity
(2017) New Phytologist, vol. 216 (3)

Llorente, B., Martinez-Garcia, J.F., Stange, C., Rodriguez-Concepcion, M.
Illuminating colors: regulation of carotenoid biosynthesis and accumulation by light
(2017) Current Opinion in Plant Biology, vol. 37, pp. 49-55

Gallemí, M., Galstyan, A., Paulišić, S., Then, C., Ferrández-Ayela, A., Lorenzo-Orts, L., Roig-Villanova, I., Wang, X., Micol, J.L., Ponce, M.R., Devlin, P.F., Martínez-García, J.F.
DRACULA2 is a dynamic nucleoporin with a role in regulating the shade avoidance syndrome in Arabidopsis
(2016) Development (Cambridge), vol. 143 (9), pp. 1623-1631

Roig-Villanova, I., Martínez-García, J.F.
Plant responses to vegetation proximity: A whole life avoiding shade
(2016) Frontiers in Plant Science, vol. 7 (FEB2016), Art. number 236

Bou-Torrent, J.*, Toledo-Ortiz, G.*, Ortiz-Alcaide, M.*, Cifuentes-Esquivel, N., Halliday, K.J., Martinez-García, J.F.©, Rodriguez-Concepcion, M©.
Regulation of carotenoid biosynthesis by shade relies on specific subsets of antagonistic transcription factors and cofactors 
(2015) Plant Physiology, vol. 169 (3), pp. 1584-1594

Hay, A.S., Pieper, B., Cooke, E., Mandáková, T., Cartolano, M., Tattersall, A.D., Ioio, R.D., McGowan, S.J., Barkoulas, M., Galinha, C., Rast, M.I., Hofhuis, H., Then, C., Plieske, J., Ganal, M., Mott, R., Martinez-Garcia, J.F., Carine, M.A., Scotland, R.W., Gan, X., Filatov, D.A., Lysak, M.A., Tsiantis, M.
Cardamine hirsuta: A versatile genetic system for comparative studies
(2014) Plant Journal, vol. 78 (1), pp. 1-15

Cifuentes-Esquivel, N., Bou-Torrent, J., Galstyan, A., Gallemí, M., Sessa, G., Salla Martret, M., Roig-Villanova, I., Ruberti, I., Martínez-García, J.F.
The bHLH proteins BEE and BIM positively modulate the shade avoidance syndrome in Arabidopsis seedlings
(2013) Plant Journal, vol. 75 (6), pp. 989-1002

Galstyan, A., Cifuentes-Esquivel, N., Bou-Torrent, J., Martinez-Garcia, J.F.
The shade avoidance syndrome in Arabidopsis: A fundamental role for atypical basic helix-loop-helix proteins as transcriptional cofactors
(2011) Plant Journal, vol. 66 (2), pp. 258-267