Colinearity and similar expression pattern of rice DREB1s reveal their functional conservation in the cold-responsive pathway

PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e47275. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0047275. Epub 2012 Oct 16.


The clustered genes C-repeat (CRT) binding factor (CBF)1/dehydration-responsive element binding protein (DREB)1B, CBF2/DREB1C, and CBF3/DREB1A play a central role in cold acclimation and facilitate plant resistance to freezing in Arabidopsis thaliana. Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is very sensitive to low temperatures; enhancing the cold stress tolerance of rice is a key challenge to increasing its yield. In this study, we demonstrate chilling acclimation, a phenomenon similar to Arabidopsis cold acclimation, in rice. To determine whether rice CBF/DREB1 genes participate in this cold-responsive pathway, all putative homologs of Arabidopsis DREB1 genes were filtered from the complete rice genome through a BLASTP search, followed by phylogenetic, colinearity and expression analysis. We thereby identified 10 rice genes as putative DREB1 homologs: nine of these were located in rice genomic regions with some colinearity to the Arabidopsis CBF1-CBF4 region. Expression profiling revealed that six of these genes (Os01g73770, Os02g45450, Os04g48350, Os06g03670, Os09g35010, and Os09g35030) were similarly expressed in response to chilling acclimation and cold stress and were co-expressed with genes involved in cold signalling, suggesting that these DREB1 homologs may be involved in the cold response in rice. The results presented here serve as a prelude towards understanding the function of rice homologs of DREB1 genes in cold-sensitive crops.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / physiology
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / physiology
  • Cold Temperature
  • Cold-Shock Response / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Oryza / genetics*
  • Oryza / growth & development
  • Oryza / metabolism*
  • Phylogeny
  • Plant Proteins / genetics*
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / physiology


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • DREB1A protein, Arabidopsis
  • Plant Proteins
  • Transcription Factors

Grants and funding

This work was financially supported by the Chinese Academy of Sciences ( KZCX2-YW-T07, KZCX2-YW-JC403) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China ( 31101211). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.