Cotton GhDREB1 increases plant tolerance to low temperature and is negatively regulated by gibberellic acid

Da-Peng Shan, Jin-Guang Huang, Yu-Tao Yang, Ying-Hui Guo, Chang-Ai Wu, Guo-Dong Yang, Zheng Gao, Cheng-Chao Zheng
New Phytologist 2007, 176 (1): 70-81
The transcription factors C-repeat binding factors/dehydration-responsive element binding proteins (CBFs/DREBs) control the expression of many stress-inducible genes in Arabidopsis. A cDNA clone, designated GhDREB1, was isolated from cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) by cDNA library screening. Northern blot analysis indicated that mRNA accumulation of GhDREB1 was induced by low temperatures and salt stress, but was not induced by abscisic acid (ABA) or drought stress in cotton seedlings. Transgenic tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) plants overexpressing GhDREB1 displayed stronger chilling tolerance than wild-type plants. Their leaf chlorophyll fluorescence, net photosynthetic rate and proline concentrations were higher than those of control plants during low-temperature treatment. However, under normal growth conditions, the transgenic tobacco plants exhibited retarded growth and delayed flowering. Interestingly, GhDREB1 transcripts in cotton seedlings were negatively regulated by gibberellic acid (GA(3)) treatment. Analysis of the promoter of the GhDREB1 gene revealed the presence of one low-temperature and four gibberellin-responsive elements. Green fluorescent protein (GFP) signal intensity or beta-glucuronidase (GUS) activity driven by the GhDREB1 promoter was clearly enhanced by low temperature but repressed by GA(3). These results suggest that GhDREB1 functions as a transcription factor and plays an important role in improving cold tolerance, and also affects plant growth and development via GA(3).

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