European Symposium on Photomorphogenesis

July 12 - 18, 1997

To be held at The University of Leicester Leicester, UK URL:

Second Circular

European Symposium on Photomorphogenesis

For the last three decades, a series of Symposia on Plant Photomorphogenesis have been held at a range of European centres. Initially held annually, and attended by small numbers of plant scientists, these Symposia have come to be regarded as the most successful regular meetings in this field. The organisation of these meetings has been described as "democratic anarchy", since there is no committee, no parent society or institutional body, nor is there a continuing fund to support the meetings. Traditionally, individual research groups have offered to host these meetings, and for 1997, the honour has fallen to the University of Leicester.

Although based in Europe, the ESOP meetings have from time to time been very international in scope and content, and for 1997 we wish to provide a truly international atmosphere, and to attract to the meeting participants, from anywhere in the world, who are interested in the responses of plants to light signals. The scientific programme will be wide-ranging, allowing maximum opportunity for contact and interaction between the participants. Setting the scene will be a number of Plenary Lectures by invited speakers, but the body of the meeting will consist of submitted oral papers presented by both established workers and those in the early phases of their careers. There will be NO concurrent sessions, and specific time slots will be provided for poster viewing.

Scientific Programme

The ESOP meetings have always been centred on the responses of plants to light signals mediated by the phytochrome and cryptochrome photoreceptor families. In the last few years, major advances in understanding have been made possible by the application of molecular biological and genetical approaches, and it is expected that these aspects will form the core of the programme. The emphasis will be on fundamental science, although ecological, evolutionary and biotechnological aspects will be covered. Applications of photomorphogenesis in agriculture and horticulture will be represented only in so far as they contribute to the scientific knowledge base of the overall subject.

Special Issue of Plant, Cell and Environment

All participants will receive a complimentary copy of a Special Issue of Plant, Cell and Environment that is being published to celebrate the 20th year of the journal. The Special Issue will comprise a series of invited Minireview Articles featuring the latest results and concepts in Plant Photomorphogenesis; its publication is timed to coincide with the 1997 ESOP Meeting.


Professor Harry Smith (Chair) University of Leicester

Mrs Carol Webster (Secretary) University of Leicester

Dr Terry Attridge University of East London

Dr Nick Harberd John Innes Centre

Dr Geoff Holmes University of Cambridge

Dr Gareth Jenkins University of Glasgow

Dr Matthew Terry University of Southampton

Dr Brian Thomas Horticulture Research International, Wellesbourne

Dr Garry Whitelam University of Leicester

Address for all correspondence:

ESOP Conference Office
Botany Department
University of Leicester
University Road
Leicester. LE1 7RH.
Telephone No: +44 (0)116 252 3381
Fax No: +44 (0)116 252 2791

Plenary Speakers

Tony Cashmore
University of Pennsylvania,
Philadelphia USA
Dick Kendrick
Wageningen Agricultural University
Joanne Chory
The Salk Institute for Biological Studies
San Diego, USA
Clark Lagarias
University of California,
Davis USA
Nam-Hai Chua
The Rockefeller University
New York, USA
Peter Quail
University of California,
Berkeley USA
George Coupland
John Innes Centre,
Norwich UK
Eberhard Schafer
University of Freiburg
Xing-Wang Deng
University of Yale,
New Haven USA
Johanna Schmitt
Brown University,
Providence USA
Masaki Furuya
Hitachi Research Ltd
Harry Smith
University of Leicester
Gareth Jenkins
University of Glasgow
Pill Soon Song
University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Steve Kay
Scripps Institute
San Diego, USA
Garry Whitelam
University of Leicester UK
David Kehoe
Carnegie Institution of Washington
Stanford, USA

Keynote Speaker

Winslow Briggs Department of Plant Biology
Carnegie Institution of Washington
Stanford, CA

General Information

The Conference Venue

The venue for the 1997 ESOP meeting is the Conference Centre at the University of Leicester. The Centre, comprising several, closely-linked buildings used during the academic session by students, is surrounded by attractive gardens, and bordered by the 16 acre Leicester University Botanic Garden. Accommodation (booking form) is available either in standard student rooms, or in en-suite rooms at a slightly higher cost. All the lectures and poster sessions will be held at the Conference Centre. Food, though English in nature is, by all accounts, very good! A congenial - possibly even convivial - bar will be available each evening, and a conference dinner will be held on the last evening.

Bowder Court is a purpose built block providing en-suite accommodation in single study bedrooms which have tea and coffee making facilities. Cost per delegate: £225.

Stamford Hall is a purpose built block providing single study bedrooms - all rooms have wash basin and shaver point, tea and coffee making facilities. Bathroom facilities are shared. Cost per delegate: £185.

Charges include: Accommodation and all meals from Sunday Lunch on 13th July to after Breakfast on Friday 18 July

Delegates wishing to take advantage of cheaper air flights by including a Saturday night stay will be charged as follows:

Bowder Court £36
Stamford Hall £29
(Prices include Dinner, Bed and Breakfast)

Electricity Supply

Outlets in most of the Halls will only accept round 3 pin 2 amp plugs. Any equipment of a high wattage will fuse the sockets. Shaver sockets are to be found in study bedrooms or nearby bathrooms. The Hall Manager keeps a small supply of adaptors: these are available on loan on payment of a returnable £5 deposit.

NB. There are no double rooms available. Please contact the Conference Secretary if you wish to receive details of local hotels.

Local Facilities

There are branches of most major banks and building societies, a post office, various shops, public houses and restaurants in Oadby village, which is within about 20 minutes' walking time from the Halls. Squash and tennis courts are available and there is a swimming pool within easy walking distance.

Car Parking

Limited parking space is available within the grounds.


Car: Access by car from the M1 and M69 via the well-signposted Ring Road
Train: Leicester is served by a half-hourly Inter-City train Service to London. Leicester Station lies on the University side of the city Centre and the Conference Centre and University Halls of Residence are about 3 miles from the station. The easiest way is to take a taxi. Ask the driver for the particular Hall, not the University which is a separate site.
Air International Airports, East Midlands and Birmingham, are within 40 miles of Leicester.

Registration Fees

A Registration Form for this Conference is enclosed. Please type the Registration Form and return it to the Conference Office with payment.

Registration Fee of £150 MUST be paid by 31 March 1997
Late registrations will incur a £25 surcharge
The above Registration Fee includes
  • Admission to all Conference sessions and poster exhibitions
  • Welcome Pack (including copy of Plant, Cell and Environment)
  • Invitation to the Conference Dinner
  • Students

    Depending on the financial outcome of the Conference, there may be funds available to help Students with travel. To qualify, the applicant's registration form must be countersigned by the Head of the relevant University Department. Any such assistance will take the form of a refund payable after the Conference.

    Cancellation Policy

    Any cancellation of registration must be made in writing to the Conference Office. An administrative charge of £9 per delegate per day will be levied for written requests for cancellation received by 31 May 1997. No refund will be given for cancellation requests received after 30 June 1997. Refunds will only be made after the Conference.

    Important Dates


    Submission of Abstracts

    Deadline for receipt of Abstracts: MONDAY 31 MARCH 1997

    Abstracts will be printed each on a single A4 page and bound together into one volume. The maximum dimensions of the abstract should be: width 6" (14.5 cm); height 9.5" (24 cm).

    Font: Times, or Times-Roman, 12 point, single-spaced, justified.
    Title: Sentence-case, bold.
    Authors: Title-case, normal, speaker's name underlined.
    Addresses: Italics, keyed to authors by Superscript numbers.
    Abstract: No more than 200 words. References should appear within text and cited such as (Kunkel et al., The Plant Journal, 10, 625-636).
    Tables & Figures: These are allowed as long as the whole abstract does not extend beyond a single A4 page.

    Submission in Electronic Form:

    Abstracts MUST be supplied both on paper and on disk. PC or Mac disks can be used. Please indicate word-processor (preferably Microsoft Word) and any graphics or spread-sheet programs used.


    Genetic engineering of harvest index in tobacco through overexpression of a phytochrome gene

    Paul R H Robson, Alex C McCormac1, Anne S Irvine, and Harry Smith

    Department of Botany, University of Leicester, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK. 1Norman Borlaug Institute for Plant Science Research, De Montfort University, Scraptoft Campus, Leicester, LE7 9EU, UK

    The phytochrome photoreceptor family regulates plant architecture in response to environmental light signals. Phytochromes mediate the shade avoidance syndrome, in which plants react to far-red radiation reflected from neighbors by elongation growth, occurring at the expense of leaf and storage organ production. We show that transgenic overproduction of phytochrome A in tobacco suppresses shade avoidance, causing proximity-conditional dwarfing. At high densities in the field, assimilates show an enhanced allocation to leaves, with a concomitant increase in harvest index. Transfer of this approach to other crop plants could provide significant improvements in productivity.

    Please mail hard copy and disk to:
    ESOP Conference Office
    Department of Botany
    University of Leicester
    Leicester. LE1 7RH. UK.