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Mol Plant. 2011 Mar;4(2):361-74. doi: 10.1093/mp/ssq078. Epub 2011 Jan 17.

Proteomics analysis reveals post-translational mechanisms for cold-induced metabolic changes in Arabidopsis.

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Key Laboratory of Arid and Grassland Agroecology of Ministry of Education, School of Life Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China.


Cold-induced changes of gene expression and metabolism are critical for plants to survive freezing. Largely by changing gene expression, exposure to a period of non-freezing low temperatures increases plant tolerance to freezing-a phenomenon known as cold acclimation. Cold also induces rapid metabolic changes, which provide instant protection before temperature drops below freezing point. The molecular mechanisms for such rapid metabolic responses to cold remain largely unknown. Here, we use two-dimensional difference gel electrophoresis (2-D DIGE) analysis of sub-cellular fractions of Arabidopsis thaliana proteome coupled with spot identification by tandem mass spectrometry to identify early cold-responsive proteins in Arabidopsis. These proteins include four enzymes involved in starch degradation, three HSP100 proteins, several proteins in the tricarboxylic acid cycle, and sucrose metabolism. Upon cold treatment, the Disproportionating Enzyme 2 (DPE2), a cytosolic transglucosidase metabolizing maltose to glucose, increased rapidly in the centrifugation pellet fraction and decreased in the soluble fraction. Consistent with cold-induced inactivation of DPE2 enzymatic activity, the dpe2 mutant showed increased freezing tolerance without affecting the C-repeat binding transcription factor (CBF) transcriptional pathway. These results support a model that cold-induced inactivation of DPE2 leads to rapid accumulation of maltose, which is a cold-induced compatible solute that protects cells from freezing damage. This study provides evidence for a key role of rapid post-translational regulation of carbohydrate metabolic enzymes in plant protection against sudden temperature drop.

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