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Plant Physiol. 2003 Apr;131(4):1800-7.

Freezing sensitivity in the sfr4 mutant of Arabidopsis is due to low sugar content and is manifested by loss of osmotic responsiveness.

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  • 1Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA.


Protoplasts were tested to determine whether the freezing sensitivity of the sfr4 (sensitive to freezing) mutant of Arabidopsis was due to the mutant's deficiency in soluble sugars after cold acclimation. When grown under nonacclimated conditions, sfr4 protoplasts possessed freezing tolerance similar to that of wild type, with the temperature at which 50% of protoplasts are injured (LT(50)) of -4.5 degrees C. In both wild-type and sfr4 protoplasts, expansion-induced lysis was the predominant lesion between -2 degrees C and -4 degrees C, but its incidence was low (approximately 10%); below -5 degrees C, loss of osmotic responsiveness (LOR) was the predominant lesion. After cold acclimation, the LT(50) was decreased to only -5.6 degrees C for sfr4 protoplasts, compared with -9.1 degrees C for wild-type protoplasts. Although expansion-induced lysis was precluded in both types of protoplasts, the sfr4 protoplasts remained susceptible to LOR. After incubation of seedlings in Suc solution in the dark at 2 degrees C, freezing tolerance and the incidence of freeze-induced lesions in sfr4 protoplasts were examined. The freezing tolerance of isolated protoplasts (LT(50) of -9 degrees C) and the incidence of LOR were now similar for wild type and sfr4. These results indicate that the freezing sensitivity of cold-acclimated sfr4 is due to its continued susceptibility to LOR (associated with lyotropic formation of the hexagonal II phase) and associated with the low sugar content of its cells.

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