Two distinct response mechanisms for low-temperature stress in plant

March 27, 2017

A joint University of Tokyo and RIKEN CSRS research group has elucidated two different plant response mechanisms at the molecular level for low-temperature stress.

Plants respond to environmental stresses such as low temperatures, dehydration, or high salinity by altering the expression of large numbers of genes to confer tolerance. Plants in low-temperature conditions strongly induce DREB1 transcription factor, which activates gene clusters for low-temperature tolerance. Several factors mediating DREB1 gene expression have been previously reported, but their molecular mechanisms have remained unclear.

This joint research revealed that plants use separate tolerance mechanisms to deal with gradual temperature changes during seasonal transitions and sudden temperature drops due to weather abnormalities or night temperatures. The former uses circadian components that function during the day, while the latter uses CAMTA family transcription factors that function around the clock.

These results promote understanding of plant sensing mechanisms for low-temperature stress and should have applications in the development of crops with improved tolerance for sudden temperature drops such as cold waves.


Original article
The Plant Cell doi:10.1105/tpc.16.00669
S. Kidokoro, K. Yoneda, H. Takasaki, F. Takahashi, K. Shinozaki, K. Yamaguchi-Shinozaki,
"Differential signaling in cold responses to rapid and gradual temperature decreases in Arabidopsis".

Kazuo Shinozaki; Group Director
Fuminori Takahashi; Research Scientist
Gene Discovery Research Group