For photoautotrophic plants, light-dependent photosynthesis plays an important role in organismal growth and development. Under light, Arabidopsis hypocotyl growth is promoted by the phytohormone ethylene. Despite well-characterized ethylene signaling pathways, the functions of light in the hormone-inducible growth response still remain elusive. Our cell-based functional and plant-system-based genetic analyses with biophysical and chemical tools showed that a chemical blockade of photosystem (PS) II activity affects ethylene-induced hypocotyl response under light. Interestingly, ethylene responsiveness modulates PSII activity in retrospect. The lack of ethylene responsiveness-inducible PSII inefficiency correlates with the induction of AKIN10 expression. Consistently, overexpression of AKIN10 in transgenic plants suppresses ethylene-inducible hypocotyl growth promotion under illumination as in other ethylene-insensitive mutants. Our findings provide information on how ethylene responsiveness-dependent photosynthetic activity controls evolutionarily conserved energy sensor AKIN10 that fine-tunes EIN3-mediated ethylene signaling responses in organ growth under light.
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