CBF-dependent signaling pathway: a key responder to low temperature stress in plants

M Q Zhou, C Shen, L H Wu, K X Tang, J Lin
Critical Reviews in Biotechnology 2011, 31 (2): 186-92
Plants under low temperature (LT) stress exhibit a C-repeat binding factor (CBF)-dependent responsive pathway. The transcription factors in the CBF family, existing in multiple plant species, are the key regulators of the cold-responsive (COR) genes. CBF1 and CBF3 are regulated in a different way from CBF2, and CBF4 is the only known CBF gene definitely involved in abscisic acid (ABA)-dependent signaling pathways. RAP2.1 and RAP2.6 are the downstream regulators under CBFs. The upstream regulators of the CBF named inducer of CBF expression (ICE) acts as a positive regulator of CBFs. Meanwhile, these CBF signaling pathway components could associate with many other transcription activators and repressors in regulating gene expression when plants are under LT stress. HOS1 negatively regulates ICE1, which down regulates MYB15, an upstream repressor of CBFs. ZAT12 participates in the repression of CBFs, while ZAT10 and FRY2 negatively regulate the CBF-target genes. ADF5 was recently also found to repress CBFs. LOS2 works against ZAT10, and LOS4 positively regulates CBFs. SFR6 is involved in the modification of CBFs to activate the COR genes, and SIZ1-dependent sumoylation plays a positive role in the regulation of ICE1. The utilization of CBF-dependent signaling components has a broad perspective in the field of plant breeding for enhancing crop LT tolerance.

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