Regulation of Low Temperature-Induced Genes during Cold Acclimation of Arabidopsis Thaliana
Arabidopsis thaliana provides an ideal model system for molecular analysis of plant cold acclimation. This small Cruciferae can readily cold acclimate and the acclimation process is accompanied by expression of a specific set of low temperature-responsive genes. Structural analysis of such Iti (low temperature induced) genes has demonstrated that many of them code for polypeptides related to members of the RAB/LEA/DHN family of water stress responsive proteins. This structural similarity is indicative of common function for these proteins and suggests overlapping responses to freezing and desiccation stress. The other Iti genes characterized seem to code for novel, often very hydrophilic proteins. Enhanced freezing tolerance of A. thaliana can be induced by exposure to low temperature, mild desiccation or exogenous abscisic acid (ABA). Mutant studies have suggested that ABA-controlled processes appear to be required for a normal acclimation response. In accordance with the observed pattern of freezing tolerance induction, expression of the lti genes is responsive to the same three stimuli. However, there are marked differences in the expression patterns of the lti genes during the different modes of induction. Furthermore, the genes seem to fall into three different categories with respect to the signal pathways employed for their expression. Existence of separate response pathways to the different stimuli appears to be the most common mechanism for induction of these genes. Accordingly, stimulus specific DNA elements appear to be present in the lti promoters.
KeywordsCold Acclimation Freezing Tolerance Desiccation Stress Acclimation Process Ideal Model System
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