The low temperature response pathways for cold acclimation and vernalization are independent

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Journal Article
Plant, Cell and Environment, 2011, 34 (10), pp. 1737 - 1748
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Vernalization is the promotion of flowering in response to the prolonged cold of winter. To survive sub-zero winter temperatures, plants must first acclimate to low, non-freezing temperatures (cold acclimation). Induction of VERNALIZATION INSENSITIVE 3 (VIN3), the first gene in the vernalization pathway, is initiated within the same time frame as the induction of genes in the cold acclimation pathway raising the question of whether there are common elements in the signal transduction pathways that activate these two responses to cold. We show that none of the signalling components required for cold acclimation, including the 'master regulator'INDUCTION OF CBF EXPRESSION1 (ICE1) or HIGH EXPRESSION OF OSMOTICALLY RESPONSIVE GENE1 (HOS1), which has been described as a link between cold acclimation and vernalization, play a role in VIN3 induction. We also show that the hormone abscisic acid (ABA) does not modulate VIN3 induction, consistent with earlier reports that ABA signalling plays no role in the vernalization response. The cold acclimation pathway is activated at 12°C, at which temperature there is no induction of VIN3 expression. Taken together, our data demonstrate that the responses to low temperatures leading to cold acclimation and vernalization are controlled by distinct signalling pathways. Changes in gene expression in the cold acclimation and vernalization pathways are initiated within the same time frame in response to low temperatures. This raises the question of whether these two responses induced by cold share components in their signal transduction pathways. Our data indicate that cold acclimation and vernalization use different pathways to signal change in gene expression. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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