XAP5 CIRCADIAN TIMEKEEPER coordinates light signals for proper timing of photomorphogenesis and the circadian clock in Arabidopsis

Martin-Tryon and Harmer 2008, Plant Cell


Numerous, varied, and widespread taxa have an internal circadian clock that allows anticipation of rhythmic changes in the environment. We have identified XAP5 CIRCADIAN TIMEKEEPER (XCT), an Arabidopsis thaliana gene important for light regulation of the circadian clock and photomorphogenesis. XCT is essential for proper clock function: xct mutants display a shortened circadian period in all conditions tested. Interestingly, XCT plays opposite roles in plant responses to light depending both on trait and wavelength. The clock in xct plants is hypersensitive to red but shows normal responses to blue light. By contrast, inhibition of hypocotyl elongation in xct is hyposensitive to red light but hypersensitive to blue light. Finally, XCT is important for ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase production and plant greening in response to light. This novel combination of phenotypes suggests XCT may play a global role in coordinating growth in response to the light environment. XCT contains a XAP5 domain and is well conserved across diverse taxa, suggesting it has a common function in higher eukaryotes. Downregulation of the XCT ortholog in Caenorhabditis elegans is lethal, suggesting that studies in Arabidopsis may be instrumental to understanding the biochemical activity of XCT.