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Regulatory Mechanisms in Dark/Light Growth and Development

Our group studies the adaptation to changing light environments and its regulation in plants. Our long-term goal is to understand how plants optimize their fitness and thrive under stressful light conditions. We use Arabidopsis as our experimental organism and a wide array of experimental approaches to investigate fundamental questions about light-regulated development and growth.

Recently, we have shown that under stressful high light conditions, chloroplast-to-nucleus retrograde signaling provides protection against photo-oxidative damage. This interorganellar communication modifies light-regulated development to minimize the tissue exposure to deleterious radiation. Our aim is to investigate the underlying mechanisms of how retrograde signaling induces adaptation to light stress conditions.

Selected Publications

Martín G, Leivar P, Ludevid D, Tepperman JM, Quail PH, Monte E. (2016)

Phytochrome and retrograde signalling pathways converge to antagonistically regulate a light-induced transcriptional network.

Nat Commun. 2016 7:11431.


Soy J, Leivar P, González-Schain N, Martín G, Diaz C, Sentandreu M, Al-Sady B, Quail PH, Monte E. (2016)

Molecular convergence of clock and photosensory pathways through PIF3-TOC1 interaction and co-occupancy of target promoters.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 13:4870-5.


Martin G, Soy J, Monte E. (2016)

Genomic Analysis Reveals Contrasting PIFq Contribution to Diurnal Rhythmic Gene Expression in PIF-Induced and -Repressed Genes.

Front Plant Sci. 7:962.


Leivar P, Monte E. (2014)

PIFs: systems integrators in plant development.

Plant Cell. 2014 26:56-78.


Soy J, Leivar P, Monte E. (2014)

"PIF1 promotes phytochrome-regulated growth under photoperiodic conditions in Arabidopsis together with PIF3, PIF4 and PIF5"

J EXP BOTANY 65:2925-36.


Adám E, Kircher S, Liu P, Mérai Z, González-Schain N, Hörner M, Viczián A, Monte E, Sharrock RA, Schäfer E, Nagy F. (2013)

"Comparative functional analysis of full-length and N-terminal fragments of phytochrome C, D and E in red light-induced signaling"



Soy J, Leivar P, González-Schain N, Sentandreu M, Prat S, Quail PH, Monte E. (2012)

"Phytochrome-imposed oscillations in PIF3 protein abundance regulate hypocotyl growth under diurnal light/dark conditions in Arabidopsis"

PLANT JOURNAL. 71:390-401


Sentandreu M, Leivar P, Martín G, Monte E. (2012)

"Branching of the PIF3 regulatory network in Arabidopsis: roles of PIF3-regulated MIDAs in seedling development in the dark and in response to light"



Leivar P, Tepperman JM, Cohn MM, Monte E, Al-Sady B, Erickson E, Quail PH. (2012)

"Dynamic antagonism between phytochromes and PIF family basic helix-loop-helix factors induces selective reciprocal responses to light and shade in a rapidly responsive transcriptional network in Arabidopsis"

PLANT CELL 24:1398-1419


Leivar P, Monte E, Cohn MM, Quail PH. (2012)

"Phytochrome signaling in green Arabidopsis seedlings: impact assessment of a mutually negative phyB-PIF feedback loop"

MOL PLANT 5:734-749


Sentandreu M, Martín G, González-Schain N, Leivar P, Soy J, Tepperman JM, Quail PH, Monte E. (2011)

"Functional profiling identifies genes involved in organ-specific branches of the PIF3 regulatory network in Arabidopsis"

PLANT CELL 23: 3974-3491


Leivar P, Tepperman JM, Monte E, Calderon RH, Liu T, Quail PH. (2009)

"Definition of early transcriptional circuitry involved in light-induced reversal of PIF-imposed repression of photomorphogenesis in young Arabidopsis seedlings"

PLANT CELL 21: 3535-3553


Leivar P*, Monte E*, Oka Y, Liu T, Carle C, Castillon A, Huq E, Quail PH. (2008)

"Multiple phytochrome-interacting bHLH transcription factors repress premature seedling photomorphogenesis in darkness"

CURR BIOL 18: 1815-1823


Leivar P*, Monte E*, Al-Sady B, Carle C, Storer A, Alonso JM, Ecker JR, Quail PH. (2008)

"The Arabidopsis Phytochrome-Interacting Factor PIF7, Together with PIF3 and PIF4, Regulates Responses to Prolonged Red Light by Modulating phyB Levels"

PLANT CELL 20: 337-352. 2008


Monte E, Al-Sady B, Leivar P, Quail PH. (2007)

"Out of the dark: how the PIFs are unmasking a dual temporal mechanism of phytochrome signaling"

J EXP BOTANY 58: 3125-3133


Monte E, Tepperman JM, Al-Sady B, Kaczorowski KA, Alonso JM, Ecker JR, Li X, Zhang YL, Quail PH. (2004)

"The phytochrome-interacting transcription factor, PIF3, acts early, selectively, and positively in light-induced chloroplast development"

PNAS 101: 16091-16098