A proteome study based on 2-D gel electrophoresis was performed in order to analyse the cold-stress response of Arabidopsis plants. The emphasis was to monitor the overall changes in the protein complement after prolonged exposure rather than short-term responses. Two different temperature regimes were used (6 degrees C and 10 degrees C) and plants were exposed to cold-stress exposure for 1 week. Protein patterns were also monitored after re-shifting plants to control conditions for a further week. To monitor gradual changes in the response to the two cold-stress conditions, the analysis was performed with DIGE technology with the inclusion of an internal standard. In the experiments using 6 degrees C, 22 spots with at least 2-fold altered expression were found; among them 18 were increased and four were decreased. When plants were exposed to 10 degrees C, 18 of these 22 spots still showed a 2-fold change; however, the alterations were, in general, more moderate than observed under 6 degrees C. Spot identification was performed by MALDI-TOF and ESI-MS/MS. Many of the proteins identified have previously been described in the context of cold-stress responses, indicating the validity of this proteome approach for further in-depth studies.