Crosstalk of PIF4 and DELLA modulates CBF transcript and hormone homeostasis in cold response in tomato

Feng Wang, Xiaoxiao Chen, Sangjie Dong, Xiaochun Jiang, Lingyu Wang, Jingquan Yu, Yanhong Zhou
Plant Biotechnology Journal 2019 October 4
The ability to interpret daily and seasonal fluctuations, latitudinal and vegetation canopy variations in light and temperature signals is essential for plant survival. However, the precise molecular mechanisms transducing the signals from light and temperature perception to maintain plant growth and adaptation remain elusive. We show that far-red light induces PHYTOCHROME-INTERACTING TRANSCRIPTION 4 (SlPIF4) accumulation under low temperature conditions via phytochrome A in Solanum lycopersicum (tomato). Reverse genetic approaches revealed that knocking out SlPIF4 increases cold susceptibility, while overexpressing SlPIF4 enhances cold tolerance in tomato plants. SlPIF4 not only directly binds to the promoters of the C-REPEAT BINDING FACTORS (SlCBFs) genes and activates their expression but also regulates plant hormone biosynthesis and signals, including abscisic acid (ABA), jasmonate (JA) and gibberellin (GA), in response to low temperature. Moreover, SlPIF4 directly activates the SlDELLA gene (GA INSENSITIVE 4, SlGAI4) under cold stress, and SlGAI4 positively regulates cold tolerance. Additionally, SlGAI4 represses accumulation of the SlPIF4 protein, thus forming multiple coherent feed-forward loops. Our results reveal that plants integrate light and temperature signals to better adapt to cold stress through shared hormone pathways and transcriptional regulators, which may provide a comprehensive understanding of plant growth and survival in a changing environment.

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