Biochemistry (Moscow)

, Volume 78, Issue 4, pp 342–354 | Cite as

Molecular switch for cold acclimation — anatomy of the cold-inducible promoter in plants

  • Yue Jiang
  • Dan Peng
  • Li-Ping Bai
  • Hui Ma
  • Li-Jing Chen
  • Ming-Hui Zhao
  • Zheng-Jin XuEmail author
  • Zhi-Fu GuoEmail author


In plants, a promoter is essential to drive the transcription and expression of genes under stress conditions. The cold-regulated promoter is an important molecular switch involved in transcriptional regulation of a dynamic network of genes associated with cold acclimation processes. However, the structure and functions of the cold-regulated promoter are ambiguous. In this review, we first describe the common type and structures of the cold-regulated promoter, such as the core promoter and transcription factor binding sites, and then discuss the synergistic actions of promoter elements and cold-regulated genes. We also describe the transcriptional responses and cross-talk among cold-regulated genes in the ICE-CBF-COR cold-response pathway. Many stress-inducible genes are known to be regulated by endogenous abscisic acid (ABA), which accumulates during osmotic and cold stress. We discuss the regulation of promoters of cold-inducible genes in ABA-dependent and ABA-independent regulatory systems. We also describe the cross-talk among gene networks regulated by different cis-acting regulatory elements. Finally, we propose potential further research on, and practical applications of, the cold-regulated promoter.

Key words

promoter cold regulation transcription cis-elements molecular mechanism 



abscisic acid


ABA-responsive element


APETALA2/ethylene-responsive element-binding protein


downstream TFIIB recognition element


upstream TFIIB recognition element




C-repeat/dehydration responsive element


downstream promoter element


dehydration responsive element binding factors


hepatitis B surface antigen


High expression of OSmotically responsive gene 1


inducer of CBF expression




late embryogenesis abundant


lymphotoxin β


low temperature responsive element


motif ten element


responsive to dehydration gene


TATA binding protein


transcription factor IIB


transcription factor IID


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Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yue Jiang
    • 1
  • Dan Peng
    • 1
  • Li-Ping Bai
    • 1
  • Hui Ma
    • 1
  • Li-Jing Chen
    • 1
  • Ming-Hui Zhao
    • 2
  • Zheng-Jin Xu
    • 2
    Email author
  • Zhi-Fu Guo
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Agricultural Biotechnology of Liaoning Province, College of Biosciences and BiotechnologyShenyang Agricultural UniversityShenyang, LiaoningChina
  2. 2.Rice Research Institute, College of AgronomyShenyang Agricultural UniversityShenyangChina

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