Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Seeking comfort from the cold


Scientists at the University of Arizona have discovered a critical cold-tolerance gene in Arabidopsis. As published in the April 15th issue of Genes & Development, the identification of ICE1 by Dr. Jian-Kang Zhu and colleagues holds promising implications for the improvement of cold tolerance in agriculturally important crops.

Cold temperature is one of the major factors affecting crop yield in temperate climates, with the farming industry loosing billions of dollars each year to freezing temperatures. Much research has focused on ways to improve crops’ tolerance to cold and/or freezing temperatures, with the aim to both increase productivity and broaden geographical range.

In 1988, scientists identified the Arabidopsis CBF family of transcription factors. CBF proteins regulate the expression of cold-responsive genes in Arabidopsis, which enable the plant to acclimate to, and survive in, cold temperatures.

As reported in their current G&D paper, Dr. Zhu and colleagues have now discovered a key transcriptional regulator of CBF genes – a marked advance in the research effort to understand and ultimately improve cold tolerance in plants.

To identify genes act upon CBF genes and affect cold tolerance in plants, Dr. Zhu and colleagues carried out a genetic screen with Arabidopsis plants that were genetically engineered to glow in the cold. The researchers inserted a luciferase/CBF3 transgene (a recombinant DNA molecule containing the firefly luciferase gene under the control of the CBF3 gene regulatory region) into the Arabidopsis genome, in order to generate plants that bioluminesce under cold stress. These cold-responsive bioluminescent plants were mutagenized, and plants that no longer glowed in cold temperatures were selected.

One particularly striking mutant exhibited ten times less luminescence after 12 hours at 0ºC than the wild-type bioluminescent plants. Dr. Zhu and colleagues cloned the gene that had been mutated in this plant, and named it ICE1 (inducer of CBF expression). Further research by the group revealed that ICE1 is also a transcription factor: During periods of cold stress, ICE1 binds to and turns on the CBF3 gene, which, in turn, induces the expression of cold-responsive genes. Using microarray analysis, Dr. Zhu and colleagues demonstrated that in ICE1-mutant plants, over 70% of cold-responsive genes are misregulated, causing the plants to exhibit severely reduced cold tolerance.

Dr. Zhu and colleagues also demonstrated that the increased expression of ICE1 in Arabidopsis plants leads to increased cold tolerance. This result is expected to garner significant attention from the agricultural community, as the transgenic expression of ICE1 in domesticated, cold-sensitive crops -- like soybeans, tomatoes, potatoes, rice and barley – may provide a new way to increase the ability of such plants to survive in the cold.

As Dr. Zhu explains, "The significance of our findings on ICE1 may be two-fold: It is likely useful for the genetic improvement of plant freezing tolerance, and the identification of ICE1 takes us one step closer to address the question how cold signals are sensed and transduced."

Heather Cosel | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'
16.03.2018 | Emory Health Sciences

nachricht Scientists map the portal to the cell's nucleus
16.03.2018 | Rockefeller University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>