The plasma membrane-bound phospholipase Ddelta enhances freezing tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana

Nat Biotechnol. 2004 Apr;22(4):427-33. doi: 10.1038/nbt949. Epub 2004 Mar 7.


Freezing injury is a major environmental limitation on the productivity and geographical distribution of plants. Here we show that freezing tolerance can be manipulated in Arabidopsis thaliana by genetic alteration of the gene encoding phospholipase Ddelta (PLDdelta), which is involved in membrane lipid hydrolysis and cell signaling. Genetic knockout of the plasma membrane-associated PLDdelta rendered A. thaliana plants more sensitive to freezing, whereas overexpression of PLDdelta increased freezing tolerance. Lipid profiling revealed that PLDdelta contributed approximately 20% of the phosphatidic acid produced in wild-type plants during freezing, and overexpression of PLDdelta increased the production of phosphatidic acid species. The PLDdelta alterations did not affect the expression of the cold-regulated genes COR47 or COR78 or alter cold-induced increases in proline or soluble sugars, suggesting that the PLD pathway is a unique determinant of the response to freezing and may present opportunities for improving plant freezing tolerance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / enzymology
  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Carbohydrates / chemistry
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Membrane / enzymology*
  • Cold Temperature
  • Freezing
  • Genetic Complementation Test
  • Homozygote
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / chemistry
  • Hydrolysis
  • Immunoblotting
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Lipids / chemistry
  • Mutation
  • Phosphatidic Acids / chemistry
  • Phosphatidic Acids / metabolism
  • Phospholipase D / chemistry*
  • Phospholipase D / metabolism
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Proline / chemistry
  • Protoplasts / metabolism
  • RNA / chemistry
  • Signal Transduction
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization
  • Temperature
  • Transgenes


  • Carbohydrates
  • Lipids
  • Phosphatidic Acids
  • RNA
  • Proline
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • phospholipase D delta
  • Phospholipase D