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Physiological and molecular changes in plants grown at low temperatures

Abstract

Apart from water availability, low temperature is the most important environmental factor limiting the productivity and geographical distribution of plants across the world. To cope with cold stress, plant species have evolved several physiological and molecular adaptations to maximize cold tolerance by adjusting their metabolism. The regulation of some gene products represents an additional mechanism of cold tolerance. A consequence of these mechanisms is that plants are able to survive exposure to low temperature via a process known as cold acclimation. In this review, we briefly summarize recent progress in research and hypotheses on how sensitive plants perceive cold. We also explore how this perception is translated into changes within plants following exposure to low temperatures. Particular emphasis is placed on physiological parameters as well as transcriptional, post-transcriptional and post-translational regulation of cold-induced gene products that occur after exposure to low temperatures, leading to cold acclimation.

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Abbreviations

ABA:

Abscisic acid

CBF:

C-repeat binding factor

COR :

Cold-responsive genes

CRT:

C-repeat elements

DRE:

Dehydration-responsive elements

DREB:

Dehydration-responsive element binding

ICE :

Inducer of CBF expression

LT:

Low temperature

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Acknowledgments

The first author (A.T.) was supported by a Grant from the Greek State Scholarship Foundation (I.K.Y.).

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Correspondence to Essaïd Ait Barka.

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Theocharis, A., Clément, C. & Barka, E.A. Physiological and molecular changes in plants grown at low temperatures. Planta 235, 1091–1105 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00425-012-1641-y

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Keywords

  • C-repeat binding factor
  • Low temperatures
  • Plant acclimation
  • Signal perception