Plant Strategies for Enhancing Access to Sunlight
Light is a vital resource for plants, which compete for it particularly in dense communities. Plants have multiple photosensory receptors to detect the presence of competitors and thereby adjust their growth and developmental strategies accordingly. Broadly speaking, plants fall into two categories depending on their response to shading by leaves: shade tolerant or shade avoiding. Here, we describe the photoperception mechanisms and the growth responses elicited by the neighboring vegetation in shade-avoiding plants, focusing on Arabidopsis thaliana, where these responses are best understood. The type of response depends on plant density, ranging from neighbor detection modulating growth in anticipation of future shading to the response to canopy shade where light resources are limiting. These diverse environments are sensed by various photoreceptors, and we will describe our current understanding of signal integration triggered by distinct light cues in diverse light conditions.
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