Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Seeking comfort from the cold

11.04.2003


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:
http://www.cshl.org/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New application for acoustics helps estimate marine life populations
16.01.2018 | University of California - San Diego

nachricht Unexpected environmental source of methane discovered
16.01.2018 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Morbid Obesity: Gastric Bypass and Sleeve Gastrectomy Are Comparable

17.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system

17.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Genetic discovery may help better identify children at risk for type 1 diabetes

17.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>