J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2017, Vol. 59 ›› Issue (2): 118-133.

Special Issue: CRISPR

• Plant-environmental Interactions •

The precise regulation of different COR genes by individual CBF transcription factors in Arabidopsis thaliana

Yihao Shi, Jiaying Huang, Tianshu Sun, Xuefei Wang, Chenqi Zhu, Yuxi Ai and Hongya Gu*

1. State Key Laboratory for Protein and Plant Gene Research, College of Life Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, China
• Received:2016-12-01 Accepted:2016-12-20 Published:2016-12-23
• About author:*Correspondences: E-mail: Hongya Gu (guhy@pku.edu.cn)

Abstract:

The transcription factors CBF1/2/3 are reported to play a dominant role in the cold responsive network of Arabidopsis by directly regulating the expression levels of cold responsive (COR) genes. In this study, we obtained CRISPR/Cas9-mediated loss-of-function mutants of cbf1∼3. Over 3,000 COR genes identified by RNA-seq analysis showed a slight but significant change in their expression levels in the mutants compared to the wild-type plants after being treated at 4 °C for 12 h. The C-repeat (CRT) motif (5′-CCGAC-3′) was enriched in promoters of genes that were up-regulated by CBF2 and CBF3 but not in promoters of genes up-regulated by CBF1. These data suggest that CBF2 and CBF3 play a more important role in directing the cold response by regulating different sets of downstream COR genes. More than 2/3 of COR genes were co-regulated by two or three CBFs and were involved mainly in cellular signal transduction and metabolic processes; less than 1/3 of the genes were regulated by one CBF, and those genes up-regulated were enriched in cold-related abiotic stress responses. Our results indicate that CBFs play an important role in the trade-off between cold tolerance and plant growth through the precise regulation of COR genes in the complicated transcriptional network.

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