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Plant Physiology 149 (2): 760-774

Copyright © 2009 by the American Society of Plant Physiologists.


Wheat Cryptochromes: Subcellular Localization and Involvement in Photomorphogenesis and Osmotic Stress Responses1,[OA]

Pei Xu, Yang Xiang, Huilan Zhu, Haibin Xu, Zhengzhi Zhang, Caiqin Zhang, Lixia Zhang, and Zhengqiang Ma*

Applied Plant Genomics Laboratory, Crop Genomics and Bioinformatics Center and National Key Laboratory of Crop Genetics and Germplasm Enhancement, Nanjing Agricultural University, Jiangsu 210095, China (P.X., Y.X., H.Z., H.X., Z.Z., C.Z., L.Z., Z.M.); and Institute of Vegetables, Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Hangzhou 310021, China (P.X.)

Abstract: Cryptochromes (CRYs) are blue light receptors important for plant growth and development. Comprehensive information on monocot CRYs is currently only available for rice (Oryza sativa). We report here the molecular and functional characterization of two CRY genes, TaCRY1a and TaCRY2, from the monocot wheat (Triticum aestivum). The expression of TaCRY1a was most abundant in seedling leaves and barely detected in roots and germinating embryos under normal growth conditions. The expression of TaCRY2 in germinating embryos was equivalent to that in leaves and much higher than the TaCRY1a counterpart. Transition from dark to light slightly affected the expression of TaCRY1a and TaCRY2 in leaves, and red light produced a stronger induction of TaCRY1a. Treatment of seedlings with high salt, polyethylene glycol, and abscisic acid (ABA) up-regulated TaCRY2 in roots and germinating embryos. TaCRY1a displays a light-responsive nucleocytoplasmic shuttling pattern similar to that of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) CRY1, contains nuclear localization domains in both the N and C termini, and includes information for nuclear export in its N-terminal domain. TaCRY2 was localized to the nucleus in the dark. Expression of TaCRY1a-green fluorescent protein or TaCRY2-green fluorescent protein in Arabidopsis conferred a shorter hypocotyl phenotype under blue light. These transgenic Arabidopsis plants showed higher sensitivity to high-salt, osmotic stress, and ABA treatment during germination and postgermination development, and they displayed altered expression of stress/ABA-responsive genes. The primary root growth in transgenic seedlings was less tolerant of ABA. These observations indicate that TaCRY1 and TaCRY2 might be involved in the ABA signaling pathway in addition to their role in primary blue light signal transduction.

1 This work was supported by the 863 program (grant no. 2006AA10A104), the programs of the National Science Foundation of China (grant nos. 30430440 and 30025030), the Outstanding Youth Fund of the Ministry of Education, the Generation Challenging Program (grant no. SP2–1), and the 111 project (grant no. Bo8025).

The author responsible for distribution of materials integral to the findings presented in this article in accordance with the policy described in the Instructions for Authors ( is: Zhengqiang Ma (zqm2{at}

[OA] Open Access articles can be viewed online without a subscription.

* Corresponding author; e-mail zqm2{at}

Received for publication November 6, 2008. Accepted for publication November 28, 2008; Published online December 3, 2008.

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H.-W. Jiang, M.-J. Liu, I.-C. Chen, C.-H. Huang, L.-Y. Chao, and H.-L. Hsieh (2010)
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