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Daytime temperature is sensed by phytochrome B in Arabidopsis through a transcriptional activator HEMERA.


Ambient temperature sensing by phytochrome B (PHYB) in Arabidopsis is thought to operate mainly at night. Here we show that PHYB plays an equally critical role in temperature sensing during the daytime. In daytime thermosensing, PHYB signals primarily through the temperature-responsive transcriptional regulator PIF4, which requires the transcriptional activator HEMERA (HMR). HMR does not regulate PIF4 transcription, instead, it interacts directly with PIF4, to activate the thermoresponsive growth-relevant genes and promote warm-temperature-dependent PIF4 accumulation. A missense allele hmr-22, which carries a loss-of-function D516N mutation in HMR's transcriptional activation domain, fails to induce the thermoresponsive genes and PIF4 accumulation. Both defects of hmr-22 could be rescued by expressing a HMR22 mutant protein fused with the transcriptional activation domain of VP16, suggesting a causal relationship between HMR-mediated activation of PIF4 target-genes and PIF4 accumulation. Together, this study reveals a daytime PHYB-mediated thermosensing mechanism, in which HMR acts as a necessary activator for PIF4-dependent induction of temperature-responsive genes and PIF4 accumulation.

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