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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Jun 29;101(26):9873-8. Epub 2004 Jun 17.

An Arabidopsis homeodomain transcription factor gene, HOS9, mediates cold tolerance through a CBF-independent pathway.

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Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.


To investigate essential components mediating stress signaling in plants, we initiated a large-scale stress response screen using Arabidopsis plants carrying the firefly luciferase reporter gene under the control of the stress-responsive RD29A promoter. Here we report the identification and characterization of a mutant, hos9-1 (for high expression of osmotically responsive genes), in which the reporter construct was hyperactivated by low temperature, but not by abscisic acid or salinity stress. The mutants grow more slowly, and flower later, than do wild-type plants and are more sensitive to freezing, both before and after acclimation, than the wild-type plants. The HOS9 gene encodes a putative homeodomain transcription factor that is localized to the nucleus. HOS9 is constitutively expressed and not further induced by cold stress. Cold treatment increased the level of transcripts of the endogenous RD29A, and some other stress-responsive genes, to a higher level in hos9-1 than in wild-type plants. However, the C repeat/dehydration responsive element-binding factor (CBF) transcription factor genes that mediate a part of cold acclimation in Arabidopsis did not have their response to cold altered by the hos9-1 mutation. Correspondingly, microarray analysis showed that none of the genes affected by the hos9-1 mutation are controlled by the CBF family. Together, these results suggest that HOS9 is important for plant growth and development, and for a part of freezing tolerance, by affecting the activity of genes independent of the CBF pathway.

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