A novel cold-inducible zinc finger protein from soybean, SCOF-1, enhances cold tolerance in transgenic plants

Plant J. 2001 Feb;25(3):247-59. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.2001.00947.x.


Cold stress on plants induces changes in the transcription of cold response genes. A cDNA clone encoding C2H2-type zinc finger protein, SCOF-1, was isolated from soybean. The transcription of SCOF-1 is specifically induced by low temperature and abscisic acid (ABA) but not by dehydration or high salinity. Constitutive overexpression of SCOF-1 induced cold-regulated (COR) gene expression and enhanced cold tolerance of non-acclimated transgenic Arabidopsis and tobacco plants. SCOF-1 localized to the nucleus but did not bind directly to either C-repeat/dehydration (CRT/DRE) or ABA responsive element (ABRE), cis-acting DNA regulatory elements present in COR gene promoters. However, SCOF-1 greatly enhanced the DNA binding activity of SGBF-1, a soybean G-box binding bZIP transcription factor, to ABRE in vitro. SCOF-1 also interacted with SGBF-1 in a yeast two-hybrid system. The SGBF-1 transactivated the beta-glucuronidase reporter gene driven by the ABRE element in Arabidopsis leaf protoplasts. Furthermore, the SCOF-1 enhanced ABRE-dependent gene expression mediated by SGBF-1. These results suggest that SCOF-1 may function as a positive regulator of COR gene expression mediated by ABRE via protein-protein interaction, which in turn enhances cold tolerance of plants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abscisic Acid / pharmacology
  • Adaptation, Physiological / genetics*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cold Temperature*
  • DNA Primers
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / drug effects
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Glucuronidase / genetics
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / chemistry
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / physiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plant Proteins*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / genetics
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / physiology*
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Soybeans / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / chemistry
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Zinc Fingers*


  • DNA Primers
  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Plant Proteins
  • SCOF-1 protein, Glycine max
  • Transcription Factors
  • Abscisic Acid
  • Glucuronidase