Effects of mutations in the Arabidopsis Cold Shock Domain Protein 3 (AtCSP3) gene on leaf cell expansion

J Exp Bot. 2012 Aug;63(13):4861-73. doi: 10.1093/jxb/ers160. Epub 2012 Aug 9.


The cold shock domain is among the most evolutionarily conserved nucleic acid binding domains from prokaryotes to higher eukaryotes, including plants. Although eukaryotic cold shock domain proteins have been extensively studied as transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulators during various developmental processes, their functional roles in plants remains poorly understood. In this study, AtCSP3 (At2g17870), which is one of four Arabidopsis thaliana c old s hock domain proteins (AtCSPs), was functionally characterized. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis confirmed high expression of AtCSP3 in reproductive and meristematic tissues. A homozygous atcsp3 loss-of-function mutant exhibits an overall reduced seedling size, stunted and orbicular rosette leaves, reduced petiole length, and curled leaf blades. Palisade mesophyll cells are smaller and more circular in atcsp3 leaves. Cell size analysis indicated that the reduced size of the circular mesophyll cells appears to be generated by a reduction of cell length along the leaf-length axis, resulting in an orbicular leaf shape. It was also determined that leaf cell expansion is impaired for lateral leaf development in the atcsp3 loss-of-function mutant, but leaf cell proliferation is not affected. AtCSP3 loss-of-function resulted in a dramatic reduction of LNG1 transcript, a gene that is involved in two-dimensional leaf polarity regulation. Transient subcellular localization of AtCSP3 in onion epidermal cells confirmed a nucleocytoplasmic localization pattern. Collectively, these data suggest that AtCSP3 is functionally linked to the regulation of leaf length by affecting LNG1 transcript accumulation during leaf development. A putative function of AtCSP3 as an RNA binding protein is also discussed in relation to leaf development.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Arabidopsis / cytology
  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Enlargement*
  • Flowers / cytology
  • Flowers / genetics
  • Flowers / growth & development
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / genetics*
  • Genes, Plant / genetics
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics*
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism
  • Meristem / cytology
  • Meristem / genetics
  • Meristem / growth & development
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional
  • Onions / cytology
  • Onions / genetics
  • Onions / growth & development
  • Organ Specificity
  • Phenotype
  • Plant Leaves / cytology
  • Plant Leaves / genetics
  • Plant Leaves / growth & development*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Plant / genetics
  • Seedlings / cytology
  • Seedlings / genetics
  • Seedlings / growth & development


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • CSP3 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Plant