Ethylene Promotes Hypocotyl Growth and HY5 Degradation by Enhancing the Movement of COP1 to the Nucleus in the Light

<div><p>In the dark, etiolated seedlings display a long hypocotyl, the growth of which is rapidly inhibited when the seedlings are exposed to light. In contrast, the phytohormone ethylene prevents hypocotyl elongation in the dark but enhances its growth in the light. However, the mechanism by which light and ethylene signalling oppositely affect this process at the protein level is unclear. Here, we report that ethylene enhances the movement of CONSTITUTIVE PHOTOMORPHOGENESIS 1 (COP1) to the nucleus where it mediates the degradation of LONG HYPOCOTYL 5 (HY5), contributing to hypocotyl growth in the light. Our results indicate that HY5 is required for ethylene-promoted hypocotyl growth in the light, but not in the dark. Using genetic and biochemical analyses, we found that HY5 functions downstream of ETHYLENE INSENSITIVE 3 (EIN3) for ethylene-promoted hypocotyl growth. Furthermore, the upstream regulation of HY5 stability by ethylene is COP1-dependent, and COP1 is genetically located downstream of EIN3, indicating that the COP1-HY5 complex integrates light and ethylene signalling downstream of EIN3. Importantly, the ethylene precursor 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate (ACC) enriched the nuclear localisation of COP1; however, this effect was dependent on EIN3 only in the presence of light, strongly suggesting that ethylene promotes the effects of light on the movement of COP1 from the cytoplasm to the nucleus. Thus, our investigation demonstrates that the COP1-HY5 complex is a novel integrator that plays an essential role in ethylene-promoted hypocotyl growth in the light.</p></div>