Cold stress signalling in female reproductive tissues

Plant Cell Environ. 2019 Mar;42(3):846-853. doi: 10.1111/pce.13408. Epub 2018 Aug 21.


Cold stress is a significant threat for plant productivity and impacts on plant distribution and crop production, particularly so when it occurs during the growth phase. A developmental stage at risk is that of flowering, since a single stress event during sensitive stages, such as the full-bloom stage of fruit trees can be fatal for reproductive success. Although pollen development and fertilization are widely viewed as the most critical reproductive phases, the development and function of female reproductive tissues, which in Angiosperms are embedded in the gynoecium, are also affected by cold stress. Today however, we have essentially no understanding of the cold stress response pathways that act during floral organogenesis. In this review, we briefly summarize our current knowledge of cold stress signalling modules active in vegetative tissues that may provide a framework of general principles also transferable to female reproductive tissues. We then align these signalling cascades with those that govern gynoecium development to identify factors that may act in both processes and could thereby contribute to cold stress responses in female reproductive tissues.

Keywords: freezing; frost; fruit; gynoecium; hormones; pistil; plants; trees.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cold-Shock Response / physiology*
  • Flowers / growth & development
  • Flowers / physiology
  • Ovule / growth & development
  • Ovule / physiology*
  • Plant Physiological Phenomena
  • Reproduction / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*