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Plant J. 2002 Mar;29(6):693-704.

Light signalling mediated by phytochrome plays an important role in cold-induced gene expression through the C-repeat/dehydration responsive element (C/DRE) in Arabidopsis thaliana.

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Kumho Life and Environmental Science Laboratory, Puk-Gu, Gwang-ju, Korea.


Low temperature induces a number of genes that encode the proteins promoting tolerance to freezing, mediated by ABA-dependent and ABA-independent pathways in plants. The cis-acting element called C/DRE is known to respond to low temperature independently of ABA action. To investigate the signalling and network of ABA-independent pathways, the transgenic Arabidopsis plants were generated containing several copies of the C/DRE derived from cor15a gene with a minimal promoter fused to a GUS reporter gene. The transgenic plants containing four copies of the C/DRE (4C/DRE-GUS) showed responsiveness to cold and drought treatments and were used for characterization of cold signalling and cross-talk. Cold-induced GUS expression was inhibited by okadaic acid at 1 nM, indicating that protein phosphatase 2A might act as a positive regulator. Light was shown to activate cold- and drought-induced GUS expression. Photo-reversibility of the GUS mRNA by red and far-red light with concomitant cold treatment suggests a role of phytochrome as a photoreceptor in mediating light signalling to activate the cold-induced gene expression through the C/DRE. Furthermore, GUS expression analysis in phyA or phyB or phyAphyB mutant backgrounds showed that phytochrome B is a primary photoreceptor responsible for the activation of cold-stress signalling in response to light. Light enhanced the induction kinetics of CBF1, 2, and 3 encoding the cognate transcription factors, and cor15a, in a consecutive manner compared to the dark condition in the cold, suggesting that the connection point between cold and light signalling mediated by phytochrome is at a higher step than the expression of CBF genes.

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