Functional & Integrative Genomics

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 513–523

Post-acclimation transcriptome adjustment is a major factor in freezing tolerance of winter wheat

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10142-009-0126-y

Cite this article as:
Skinner, D.Z. Funct Integr Genomics (2009) 9: 513. doi:10.1007/s10142-009-0126-y


Cold-acclimated winter wheat plants were slowly frozen to −10°C, and then the temperature was either maintained at −10°C or was lowered further to −12°C. Expression levels of a total of 423 genes were significantly altered in these treatments; genes upregulated outnumbered those downregulated by about a 9:1 ratio. Sixty-eight genes were upregulated at least fivefold in all freezing treatments; 17 of these 68 encoded transcription factors including C-repeat binding factor (Cbf), WRKY, or other Zn-finger proteins, indicating strong upregulation of genes involved in transcription regulation. Sixteen of the 68 highly upregulated genes encoded kinases, phosphatases, calcium trafficking-related proteins, or glycosyltransferases, indicating upregulation of genes involved in signal transduction. Six genes encoding chlorophyll a/b binding-like proteins were upregulated uniquely in response to the -12°C treatment, suggesting a protective role of pigment-binding proteins in freezing stress response. Most genes responded similarly in the very freezing tolerant cultivar Norstar and in the moderately freezing tolerant Tiber, but some genes responded in opposite fashion in the two cultivars. These results showed that wheat crowns actively adapt as the temperature declines to potentially damaging levels, and genetic variation for this ability exists among cultivars.


Cold acclimationDNA arrayFreezing toleranceHardinessTranscriptome

Supplementary material

10142_2009_126_MOESM1_ESM.xls (176 kb)
Table S1Fold-changes in gene expression in crown tissue of cold acclimated winter wheat plants exposed to three freezing treatments. (HTM 251 kb)
10142_2009_126_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (74 kb)
Table S2Sixty-nine wheat (Triticum aestivum) genes that were indicated from Affymetrix microarray analysis as upregulated at least fivefold as cold-acclimated wheat plants were exposed to freezing treatmentsa. (PDF 74 kb)
10142_2009_126_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (52 kb)
Table S3Genes that were expressed to significantly different levels in crown tissue of Tiber winter wheat plants after three freezing treatmentsa as indicated by Affymetrix microarray analysis. (PDF 51 kb)
10142_2009_126_Fig1_ESM.gif (74 kb)
Fig. S1

Relative fluorescence vs. cycle number of quantitative real-time PCR on cDNA from crown tissue of winter wheat Tiber plants exposed to four temperature treatments. The primers were designed by Vagujfalvi et al. (2005, Mol Genet Genom 274:506–514) for the Cbf1B gene but amplify several Cbf gene fragments. The result of that amplification was very uniform across treatments and was used as a constant-expression benchmark (GIF 107 kb).

10142_2009_126_Fig1_ESM.tif (6.3 mb)
High resulotion image (TIF 10.2 MB)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.USDA-ARS and Department of Crop and Soil SciencesWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA