Light intensity is crucial for plant growth and often fluctuates on a small time scale due to altering climate conditions or sunflecks. Recently, we performed a study that looked into the growth effect of a sudden elevation of light intensity on Nicotiana tabacum seedlings.1 It was shown that an increase in light intensity leads to a pronounced increase of root-shoot-ratio as root growth reacts strongly and rapidly to an increase of light intensity. In transition experiments from low (60 micromol m(-2) s(-1)) to high (300 micromol m(-2) s(-1)) light intensity, root growth increased by a factor of four within four days, reaching the steady-state level measured in plants that were cultivated in high-light conditions. During the first three hours after light increase, strong fluctuations of the velocity of the root tip were observed that were putatively caused by a superposition of hydraulic and photosynthetic acclimation to the altered conditions. Experiments with externally applied sucrose and with transgenic plants having reduced capacity for sucrose synthesis indicated clearly that increasing light intensity rapidly enhanced root growth by elevating sucrose export from shoot to root.
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