RNA Regulation in Plant Cold Stress Response

  • Kentaro NakaminamiEmail author
  • Motoaki Seki
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1081)


In addition to plants, all organisms react to environmental stimuli via the perception of signals and subsequently respond through alterations of gene expression. However, genes/mRNAs are usually not the functional unit themselves, and instead, resultant protein products with individual functions result in various acquired phenotypes. In order to fully characterize the adaptive responses of plants to environmental stimuli, it is essential to determine the level of proteins, in addition to the regulation of mRNA expression. This regulatory step, which is referred to as “mRNA posttranscriptional regulation,” occurs subsequent to mRNA transcription and prior to translation. Although these RNA regulatory mechanisms have been well-studied in many organisms, including plants, it is not fully understood how plants respond to environmental stimuli, such as cold stress, via these RNA regulations.

A recent study described several RNA regulatory factors in relation to environmental stress responses, including plant cold stress tolerance. In this chapter, the functions of RNA regulatory factors and comprehensive analyses related to the RNA regulations involved in cold stress response are summarized, such as mRNA maturation, including capping, splicing, polyadenylation of mRNA, and the quality control system of mRNA; mRNA degradation, including the decapping step; and mRNA stabilization. In addition, the putative roles of messenger ribonucleoprotein (mRNP) granules, such as processing bodies (PBs) and stress granules (SGs), which are cytoplasmic particles, are described in relation to RNA regulations under stress conditions. These RNA regulatory systems are important for adjusting or fine-tuning and determining the final levels of mRNAs and proteins in order to adapt or respond to environmental stresses. Collectively, these new areas of study revealed that plants possess precise novel regulatory mechanisms which specifically function in the response to cold stress.


RNA regulation Posttranscriptional regulation mRNA degradation mRNA stabilization Cold stress response 



Cold acclimation


C-repeat-binding factors


Cold de-acclimation


Dehydration-responsive element-binding proteins


Heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoproteins


Messenger ribonucleoprotein


Nonsense-mediated decay


Processing bodies


Premature termination codon


RNA-binding proteins


RNA recognition motif


Stress granules


Small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particle





We would like to thank Dr. Dale T. Karlson and Dr. Akihiro Matsui for critical reading of this manuscript. This work is supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research, Grant Numbers 25850247 and 17K07690 to K.N. and 16H01476 to M.S.; on Innovative Areas (Thermal Biology) from MEXT, 18H04705 to M.S.; Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), Core Research for Evolutionary Science and Technology (CREST), JPMJCR13B4 to M.S.; and Grants from RIKEN to M.S.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Plant Genomic Network Research TeamRIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource ScienceYokohamaJapan
  2. 2.Plant Epigenome Regulation Laboratory, Cluster for Pioneering ResearchRIKENWakoJapan
  3. 3.Kihara Institute for Biological ResearchYokohama City UniversityYokohamaJapan
  4. 4.Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology (CREST)Japan Science and Technology (JST)KawaguchiJapan

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