Integration of polyamines in the cold acclimation response

Rubén Alcázar, Juan C Cuevas, Joan Planas, Xavier Zarza, Cristina Bortolotti, Pedro Carrasco, Julio Salinas, Antonio F Tiburcio, Teresa Altabella
Plant Science: An International Journal of Experimental Plant Biology 2011, 180 (1): 31-8
Temperature is one of the most important environmental factors limiting the geographical distribution of plants and accounts for significant reductions in the yield of agriculturally important crops. Low temperature damages many plant species, especially those adapted to tropical climates. In contrast, some species from temperate regions are able to develop freezing tolerance in response to low-non-freezing temperature, an adaptive process named cold acclimation. Numerous molecular, biochemical and physiological changes occur during cold acclimation, most of them being associated with significant changes in gene expression and metabolite profiles. During recent years, transcriptomic and metabolomic approaches have allowed the identification of cold-responsive genes and main metabolites which accumulate in plants exposed to cold. The obtained data support the previously held idea that polyamines (PAs) are involved in plant responses to cold, although their specific role is still not well understood. In this review, we synthesize published data regarding PA-responses to cold stress and integrate them with global transcriptional and metabolic changes. The potential of PA genetic engineering for the development of plants resistant to cold and freezing temperatures, and their plausible mechanisms of action are also discussed.

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