Light signalling mediated by phytochrome plays an important role in cold-induced gene expression through the C-repeat/dehydration responsive element (C/DRE) in Arabidopsis thaliana

Plant J. 2002 Mar;29(6):693-704. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.2002.01249.x.


Low temperature induces a number of genes that encode the proteins promoting tolerance to freezing, mediated by ABA-dependent and ABA-independent pathways in plants. The cis-acting element called C/DRE is known to respond to low temperature independently of ABA action. To investigate the signalling and network of ABA-independent pathways, the transgenic Arabidopsis plants were generated containing several copies of the C/DRE derived from cor15a gene with a minimal promoter fused to a GUS reporter gene. The transgenic plants containing four copies of the C/DRE (4C/DRE-GUS) showed responsiveness to cold and drought treatments and were used for characterization of cold signalling and cross-talk. Cold-induced GUS expression was inhibited by okadaic acid at 1 nM, indicating that protein phosphatase 2A might act as a positive regulator. Light was shown to activate cold- and drought-induced GUS expression. Photo-reversibility of the GUS mRNA by red and far-red light with concomitant cold treatment suggests a role of phytochrome as a photoreceptor in mediating light signalling to activate the cold-induced gene expression through the C/DRE. Furthermore, GUS expression analysis in phyA or phyB or phyAphyB mutant backgrounds showed that phytochrome B is a primary photoreceptor responsible for the activation of cold-stress signalling in response to light. Light enhanced the induction kinetics of CBF1, 2, and 3 encoding the cognate transcription factors, and cor15a, in a consecutive manner compared to the dark condition in the cold, suggesting that the connection point between cold and light signalling mediated by phytochrome is at a higher step than the expression of CBF genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abscisic Acid / pharmacology
  • Acclimatization / drug effects
  • Acclimatization / radiation effects
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Cold Temperature
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Darkness
  • Disasters
  • Diuron / pharmacology
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation / radiation effects
  • Light
  • Mutation
  • Okadaic Acid / pharmacology
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases / metabolism
  • Photoreceptor Cells*
  • Phytochrome / drug effects
  • Phytochrome / metabolism*
  • Phytochrome / radiation effects
  • Phytochrome B
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Protein Phosphatase 2
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / radiation effects
  • Sodium Chloride / pharmacology
  • Staurosporine / pharmacology
  • Trans-Activators / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / genetics


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • CBF1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • COR15 protein, Arabidopsis
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • DREB1A protein, Arabidopsis
  • PHYB protein, Arabidopsis
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcription Factors
  • Phytochrome
  • Phytochrome B
  • Okadaic Acid
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Abscisic Acid
  • Diuron
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases
  • Protein Phosphatase 2
  • Staurosporine