Light and dark adaptation of the phototropism of Phycomyces sporangiophores were analyzed in the intensity range of 10(-7)-6 W X m-2. The experiments were designed to test the validity of the Delbrück-Reichardt model of adaptation (Delbrück, M., and W. Reichardt, 1956, Cellular Mechanisms in Differentiation and Growth, 3-44), and the kinetics were measured by the phototropic delay method. We found that their model describes adequately only changes of the adaptation level after small, relatively short intensity changes. For dark adaptation, we found a biphasic decay with two time constants of b1 = 1-2 min and b2 = 6.5-10 min. The model fails for light adaptation, in which the level of adaptation can overshoot the actual intensity level before it relaxes to the new intensity. The light adaptation kinetics depend critically on the height of the applied pulse as well as the intensity range. Both these features are incompatible with the Delbrück-Reichardt model and indicate that light and dark adaptation are regulated by different mechanisms. The comparison of the dark adaptation kinetics with the time course of the dark growth response shows that Phycomyces has two adaptation mechanisms: an input adaptation, which operates for the range adjustment, and an output adaptation, which directly modulates the growth response. The analysis of four different types of behavioral mutants permitted a partial genetic dissection of the adaptation mechanism. The hypertropic strain L82 and mutants with defects in the madA gene have qualitatively the same adaptation behavior as the wild type; however, the adaptation constants are altered in these strains. Mutation of the madB gene leads to loss of the fast component of the dark adaptation kinetics and to overshooting of the light adaptation under conditions where the wild type does not overshoot. Another mutant with a defect in the madC gene shows abnormal behavior after steps up in light intensity. Since the madB and madC mutants have been associated with the receptor pigment, we infer that at least part of the adaptation process is mediated by the receptor pigment.

This content is only available as a PDF.