RNA helicase-like protein as an early regulator of transcription factors for plant chilling and freezing tolerance

Zhizhong Gong, Hojoung Lee, Liming Xiong, André Jagendorf, Becky Stevenson, Jian Kang Zhu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

208 Scopus citations


Susceptibility to chilling injury prevents the cultivation of many important crops and limits the extended storage of horticultural commodities. Although freezing tolerance is acquired through cold-induced gene expression changes mediated in part by the CBF family of transcriptional activators, whether plant chilling resistance or sensitivity involves the CBF genes is not known. We report here that an Arabidopsis thaliana mutant impaired in the cold-regulated expression of CBF genes and their downstream target genes is sensitive to chilling stress. Expression of CBF3 under a strong constitutive promoter restores chilling resistance to the mutant plants. The mutated gene was cloned and found to encode a nuclear localized RNA helicase. Our results identify a regulator of CBF genes, and demonstrate the importance of gene regulation and the CBF transcriptional activators in plant chilling resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11507-11512
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number17
StatePublished - Aug 20 2002

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