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Overexpression of the Arabidopsis CBF3 tanscriptional activator mimics multiple biochemical changes associated with cold acclimation

Gilmour, S.J., Sebolt, A.M., Salazar, M.P., Everard, J.D., Thomashow, M.F.
Plant physiology 2000 v.124 no.4 pp. 1854-1865
Arabidopsis thaliana, transcription factors, biosynthesis, quantitative analysis, ecotypes, glucose, sucrose, transgenic plants, genetic variation, proline, acclimation, raffinose, stress response, gene expression, genes, fructose, protein content, cold tolerance, enzyme activity
We further investigated the role of the Arabidopsis CBF regulatory genes in cold acclimation, the process whereby certain plants increase in freezing tolerance upon exposure to low temperature. The CBF genes, which are rapidly induced in response to low temperature, encode transcriptional activators that control the expression of genes containing the C-repeat/dehydration responsive element DNA regulatory element in their promoters. Constitutive expression of either CBF1 or CBF3 (also known as DREB1b and DREB1a, respectively) in transgenic Arabidopsis plants has been shown to induce the expression of target COR (cold-regulated) genes and to enhance freezing tolerance in nonacclimated plants. Here we demonstrate that overexpression of CBF3 in Arabidopsis also increases the freezing tolerance of cold-acclimated plants. Moreover, we show that it results in multiple biochemical changes associated with cold acclimation: CBF3-expressing plants had elevated levels of proline (Pro) and total soluble sugars, including sucrose, raffinose, glucose, and fructose. Plants overexpressing CBF3 also had elevated P5CS transcript levels suggesting that the increase in Pro levels resulted, at least in part, from increased expression of the key Pro biosynthetic enzyme delta1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthase. These results lead us to propose that CBF3 integrates the activation of multiple components of the cold acclimation response.