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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

PIF-independent regulation of growth by an evening complex in the liverwort Marchantia polymorpha

Lagercrantz, Ulf; Billhardt, Anja; Rousku, Sabine N.; Landberg, Katarina; Thelander, Mattias; Eklund, D. Magnus


Previous studies in the liverwort Marchantia polymorpha have shown that the putative evening complex (EC) genes LUX ARRHYTHMO (LUX) and ELF4-LIKE (EFL) have a function in the liverwort circadian clock. Here, we studied the growth phenotypes of MpLUX and MpEFL loss-of-function mutants, to establish if PHYTOCHROME-INTERACTING FACTOR (PIF) and auxin act downstream of the Mpolymorpha EC in a growth-related pathway similar to the one described for the flowering plant Arabidopsis. We examined growth rates and cell properties of loss-of-function mutants, analyzed protein-protein interactions and performed gene expression studies using reporter genes. Obtained data indicate that an EC can form in Mpolymorpha and that this EC regulates growth of the thallus. Altered auxin levels in Mplux mutants could explain some of the phenotypes related to an increased thallus surface area. However, because MpPIF is not regulated by the EC, and because Mppif mutants do not show reduced growth, the growth phenotype of EC-mutants is likely not mediated via MpPIF. In Arabidopsis, the circadian clock regulates elongation growth via PIF and auxin, but this is likely not an evolutionarily conserved growth mechanism in land plants. Previous inventories of orthologs to Arabidopsis clock genes in various plant lineages showed that there is high levels of structural differences between clocks of different plant lineages. Here, we conclude that there is also variation in the output pathways used by the different plant clocks to control growth and development.

Published in

2022, volume: 17, number: 6, article number: e0269984

Authors' information

Lagercrantz, Ulf
Uppsala University
Billhardt, Anja
Uppsala University
Rousku, Sabine N.
Uppsala University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Biology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Biology
Eklund, D. Magnus
Uppsala University

UKÄ Subject classification

Developmental Biology

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