, Volume 221, Issue 5, pp 705-715
Date: 22 Jan 2005

Low temperature promotes intron retention in two e-cor genes of durum wheat

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Following the screening of a suppression subtractive library developed from durum wheat plants exposed to low temperature for 6 h, two early cold-regulated (e-cor) genes have been isolated. These genes, coding putatively for a ribokinase (7H8) and a C3H2C3 RING-finger protein (6G2), were characterized by the stress-induced retention of a subset of introns in the mature mRNA. This feature was dependent on cold for 7H8 and on cold and dehydration for 6G2. When other genes, such as the stress-related gene WCOR410c, coding for a dehydrin (one intron), or a gene coding for a putative ATP binding cassette transporter (16 introns) were analyzed, no cold-dependent intron retention was observed. Cold-induced intron retention was not observed in mutants defective in the chloroplast development; nevertheless treatment with cycloheximide in the absence of cold was able to promote intron retention for the 7H8 e-cor gene. These results suggest that the cold-induced intron retention reflects the response of the spliceosoma to specific environmental signals transduced to the splicing protein factors through a chloroplast-dependent pathway. Notably, when the 7H8 Arabidopsis orthologous gene was analyzed, no stress induction in terms of mRNA abundance and no cold-dependent intron retention was detected. Otherwise, 6G2 Arabidopsis homologous sequences sharing the same genomic structure of the durum wheat 6G2 showed a similar intron retention event although not strictly dependent on stress.