Hormonal control of cold stress responses in plants

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2016 Feb;73(4):797-810. doi: 10.1007/s00018-015-2089-6. Epub 2015 Nov 23.


Cold stress responses in plants are highly sophisticated events that alter the biochemical composition of cells for protection from damage caused by low temperatures. In addition, cold stress has a profound impact on plant morphologies, causing growth repression and reduced yields. Complex signalling cascades are utilised to induce changes in cold-responsive gene expression that enable plants to withstand chilling or even freezing temperatures. These cascades are governed by the activity of plant hormones, and recent research has provided a better understanding of how cold stress responses are integrated with developmental pathways that modulate growth and initiate other events that increase cold tolerance. Information on the hormonal control of cold stress signalling is summarised to highlight the significant progress that has been made and indicate gaps that still exist in our understanding.

Keywords: Abiotic stress; Freezing tolerance; Hormones; Plant.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Abscisic Acid / genetics
  • Abscisic Acid / metabolism
  • Acclimatization*
  • Cold-Shock Response*
  • Cyclopentanes / metabolism
  • Ethylenes / metabolism
  • Freezing
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Gibberellins / genetics
  • Gibberellins / metabolism
  • Indoleacetic Acids / metabolism
  • Oxylipins / metabolism
  • Plant Growth Regulators / genetics
  • Plant Growth Regulators / metabolism
  • Plant Physiological Phenomena*
  • Plants / genetics*
  • Salicylic Acid / metabolism


  • Cyclopentanes
  • Ethylenes
  • Gibberellins
  • Indoleacetic Acids
  • Oxylipins
  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • jasmonic acid
  • Abscisic Acid
  • ethylene
  • Salicylic Acid