A new photomorphogenesis was found in the plasmodium of the true slime mold Physarum polycephalum: the plasmodium broke temporarily into equal-sized spherical pieces, each containing about eight nuclei, about 5 h after irradiation with light. Action spectroscopic study showed that UVA, blue and far-red lights were effective, while red light inhibited the far-red–induced fragmentation. Difference absorption spectra of both the living plasmodium and the plasmodial homogenate after alternate irradiation with far-red and red light gave two extremes at 750 and 680 nm, which agreed with those for the induction and inhibition of the fragmentation, respectively. A kinetic model similar to that of phytochrome action explained quantitatively the fluence rate–response curves of the fragmentation. Our results indicate that one of the photoreceptors for the plasmodial fragmentation is a phytochrome.
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Vol. 73 • No. 3