Regulation of Plant Gene Expression in Response to Low Temperature

  • Michael F. Thomashow
  • Eric J. Stockinger
  • Sarah J. Gilmour


In 1985, Guy et al. (1985) showed that spinach alters gene expression in response to low nonfreezing temperatures. Results since then have established that cold-regulated gene expression is a common feature of higher plants (Thomashow, 1993). It occurs in chilling tolerant species that cold acclimate (i. e., increase in freezing tolerance in response to low nonfreezing temperatures); chilling tolerant species that do not cold acclimate; and in chilling sensitive species. A basic question raised is how do plants sense low temperature and alter gene expression? Are the sensing and regulatory mechanisms the same in both chilling tolerant and chilling sensitive plants? Also, towards the practical end of crop improvement, can we manipulate these sensing and regulatory systems to increase the chilling and freezing tolerance of agronomically important plants? These and related questions are now being addressed in a number of laboratories. Here, we summarize some of the findings that we have made on cold-regulated gene expression in Arabidopsis thaliana, a chilling tolerant plant that cold acclimates.


Cold Acclimation Freezing Tolerance Upstream Activator Sequence Plant Gene Expression Homeotic Gene APETALA2 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael F. Thomashow
    • 1
  • Eric J. Stockinger
    • 1
  • Sarah J. Gilmour
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Crop and Soil SciencesMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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