Light filtered through dense planting initiates the shade avoidance syndrome (SAS) in plants, which helps them compete against their neighbors. Quantitative trait loci (QTL)-based analysis identified the nighttime-expressed clock component ELF3 as a new player in the SAS, but its detailed mechanism is unclear. Here, we show that the circadian clock gates shade-induced gene expression and hypocotyl elongation at night. ELF3 is involved in nighttime suppression via interaction with and inactivation of PHYTOCHROME-INTERACTING FACTOR 7 (PIF7). Loss of function of ELF3 restores the shade induction, which is largely reduced in the absence of PIF7, indicating that ELF3 acts upstream of PIF7. Finally, we found that the repressive activity of ELF3 on the shade response is stronger under short days than under long days. Our results reveal that the interaction between ELF3 and PIF7 mediates the circadian gating of the SAS, which coordinates the daily control of physiological outputs.
PMID: 31805433 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]