J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2018, Vol. 60 ›› Issue (9): 745-756.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12706

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Cold signaling in plants: Insights into mechanisms and regulation

Xiaoyu Guo1,2, Dongfeng Liu1 and Kang Chong1,2*   

  1. 1Key Laboratory of Plant Molecular Physiology, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
    2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China


    Email: Kang Chong (chongk@ibcas.ac.cn)
  • Received:2018-06-19 Accepted:2018-08-08 Online:2018-08-10 Published:2018-09-01


To survive under cold temperatures plants must be able to perceive a cold signal and transduce it into downstream components that induce appropriate defense mechanisms. In addition to inducing adaptive defenses, such as the production of osmotic factors to prevent freezing and the reprogramming of transcriptional pathways, cold temperatures induce changes in plant growth and development which can affect the plant life cycle. In this review, we summarize recent progress in characterizing cold-related genes and the pathways that allow transduction of the cold signal in plants, focusing primarily on studies in Arabidopsis thaliana and rice (Oryza sativa). We summarize cold perception and signal transduction from the plasma membrane to the nucleus, which involves cold sensors, calcium signals, calcium-binding proteins, mitogen-activated protein kinase cascades, and the C-repeat binding factor/dehydration-responsive element binding pathways, as well as trehalose metabolism. Finally, we describe the balance between plant organogenesis and cold tolerance mechanisms in rice. This review encapsulates the known cold signaling factors in plants and provides perspectives for ongoing cold signaling research.

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