An Arabidopsis mutation in translation elongation factor 2 causes superinduction of CBF/DREB1 transcription factor genes but blocks the induction of their downstream targets under low temperatures

Yan Guo, Liming Xiong, Manabu Ishitani, Jian-Kang Zhu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


Low temperature regulates gene expression in bacteria, yeast, and animals as well as in plants. However, the signal transduction cascades mediating the low temperature responses are not well understood in any organism. To identify components in low temperature signaling genetically, we isolated Arabidopsis thaliana mutants in which cold-responsive genes are no longer induced by low temperatures. One of these mutations, los1-1, specifically blocks low temperature-induced transcription of cold-responsive genes. Surprisingly, cold-induced expression of the early response transcriptional activators, C-repeat/dehydration responsive element binding factors (CBF/DREB1s), is enhanced by the los1-1 mutation. The los1-1 mutation also reduces the capacity of plants to develop freezing tolerance but does not impair the vernalization response. Genetic analysis indicated that los1-1 is a recessive mutation in a single nuclear gene. The LOS1 gene encodes a translation elongation factor 2-like protein. Protein labeling studies show that new protein synthesis is blocked in los1-1 mutant plants specifically in the cold. These results reveal a critical role of new protein synthesis in the proper transduction of low temperature signals. Our results also suggest that cold-induced transcription of CBF/DREB1s is feedback inhibited by their gene products or by products of their downstream target genes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7786-7791
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number11
StatePublished - May 28 2002

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