The plant photoreceptor phytochrome plays an important role in the nucleus as a regulator of transcription. Numerous studies imply, however, that phytochromes in both higher and lower plants mediate physiological reactions within the cytoplasm. In particular, the tip cells of moss protonemal filaments use phytochrome to sense light direction, requiring a signaling system that transmits the directional information directly to the microfilaments that direct tip growth. In this work we describe four canonical phytochrome genes in the model moss species Physcomitrella patens, each of which was successfully targeted via homologous recombination and the distinct physiological functions of each gene product thereby identified. One homolog in particular mediates positive phototropism, polarotropism, and chloroplast movement in polarized light. This photoreceptor thus interacts with a cytoplasmic signal/response system. This is our first step in elucidating the cytoplasmic signaling function of phytochrome at the molecular level.