Genetic and physiological mechanisms of freezing tolerance in locally adapted populations of a winter annual.
ABSTRACT: PREMISE:Despite myriad examples of local adaptation, the phenotypes and genetic variants underlying such adaptive differentiation are seldom known. Recent work on freezing tolerance and local adaptation in ecotypes of Arabidopsis thaliana from Italy and Sweden provides an essential foundation for uncovering the genotype-phenotype-fitness map for an adaptive response to a key environmental stress. METHODS:We examined the consequences of a naturally occurring loss-of-function (LOF) mutation in an Italian allele of the gene that encodes the transcription factor CBF2, which underlies a major freezing-tolerance locus. We used four lines with a Swedish genetic background, each containing a LOF CBF2 allele. Two lines had introgression segments containing the Italian CBF2 allele, and two contained deletions created using CRISPR-Cas9. We used a growth chamber experiment to quantify freezing tolerance and gene expression before and after cold acclimation. RESULTS:Freezing tolerance was lower in the Italian (11%) compared to the Swedish (72%) ecotype, and all four experimental CBF2 LOF lines had reduced freezing tolerance compared to the Swedish ecotype. Differential expression analyses identified 10 genes for which all CBF2 LOF lines, and the IT ecotype had similar patterns of reduced cold responsive expression compared to the SW ecotype. CONCLUSIONS:We identified 10 genes that are at least partially regulated by CBF2 that may contribute to the differences in cold-acclimated freezing tolerance between the Italian and Swedish ecotypes. These results provide novel insight into the molecular and physiological mechanisms connecting a naturally occurring sequence polymorphism to an adaptive response to freezing conditions.
Project description:Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis) increases in freezing tolerance in response to low nonfreezing temperatures, a phenomenon known as cold acclimation. The CBF regulatory pathway, which contributes to cold acclimation, includes three genes-CBF1, CBF2 and CBF3-encoding closely-related transcription factors that regulate the expression of more than 100 genes-the CBF regulon-that impart freezing tolerance. Here we compare the CBF pathways of two Arabidopsis ecotypes collected from sites in Sweden (SW) and Italy (IT). Previous studies showed that the SW ecotype was more freezing tolerant than the IT ecotype and that the IT ecotype had a nonfunctional CBF2 gene. Here we present results establishing that the difference in CBF2 alleles contributes to the difference in freezing tolerance between the two ecotypes. However, other differences in the CBF pathway as well as CBF-independent pathways contribute the large majority of the difference in freezing tolerance between the two ecotypes. The results also provided evidence that most cold-induced CBF regulon genes in both the SW and IT ecotypes are coregulated by CBF-independent pathways. Additional analysis comparing our results with those published by others examining the Col-0 accession resulted in the identification of 44 CBF regulon genes that were conserved among the three accessions suggesting that they likely have important functions in life at low temperature. The comparison further supported the conclusion that the CBF pathway can account for a large portion of the increase in freezing tolerance that occurs with cold acclimation in a given accession, but that CBF-independent pathways can also make a major contribution.
Project description:The two Arabidopsis ecotypes that are adapted to Italy and Sweden, respectively, showed different degree of freezing tolerance. By comparing the low temperature transcriptomes of the IT and SW ecotypes with the CBF pathway being knocked out, we showed the CBF pathway plays a significant role in natural variation of freezing tolerance. Overall design: Examination of mRNA levels in cbf CRISPR mutants in background of the Arabidospsis Italian and Swedish ecotype plants grown at warm, cold for 24h, and cold for 2 weeks.
Project description:The two Arabidopsis ecotypes that are adapted to Italy and Sweden, respectively, showed different degree of freezing tolerance. By comparing the low temperature transcriptomes of the IT and SW ecotypes, we showed CBF pathway plays a significant role in natural variation of freezing tolerance. Overall design: Examination of mRNA levels in the Arabidospsis ecotypes of Italian and Swedish plants grown at warm, cold for 1 week, and for 2 weeks.
Project description:The winter oilseed ecotype is more tolerant to low temperature than the spring ecotype. Transcriptome and metabolome analyses of leaf samples of five spring Brassica napus L. (B. napus) ecotype lines and five winter B. napus ecotype lines treated at 4 °C and 28 °C were performed. A total of 25,460 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) of the spring oilseed ecotype and 28,512 DEGs of the winter oilseed ecotype were identified after cold stress; there were 41 differentially expressed metabolites (DEMs) in the spring and 47 in the winter oilseed ecotypes. Moreover, more than 46.2% DEGs were commonly detected in both ecotypes, and the extent of the changes were much more pronounced in the winter than spring ecotype. By contrast, only six DEMs were detected in both the spring and winter oilseed ecotypes. Eighty-one DEMs mainly belonged to primary metabolites, including amino acids, organic acids and sugars. The large number of specific genes and metabolites emphasizes the complex regulatory mechanisms involved in the cold stress response in oilseed rape. Furthermore, these data suggest that lipid, ABA, secondary metabolism, signal transduction and transcription factors may play distinct roles in the spring and winter ecotypes in response to cold stress. Differences in gene expression and metabolite levels after cold stress treatment may have contributed to the cold tolerance of the different oilseed ecotypes.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Low temperature leads to major crop losses every year. Although several studies have been conducted focusing on diversity of cold tolerance level in multiple phenotypically divergent Arabidopsis thaliana (A. thaliana) ecotypes, genome-scale molecular understanding is still lacking. RESULTS: In this study, we report genome-scale transcript response diversity of 10 A. thaliana ecotypes originating from different geographical locations to non-freezing cold stress (10°C). To analyze the transcriptional response diversity, we initially compared transcriptome changes in all 10 ecotypes using Arabidopsis NimbleGen ATH6 microarrays. In total 6061 transcripts were significantly cold regulated (p < 0.01) in 10 ecotypes, including 498 transcription factors and 315 transposable elements. The majority of the transcripts (75%) showed ecotype specific expression pattern. By using sequence data available from Arabidopsis thaliana 1001 genome project, we further investigated sequence polymorphisms in the core cold stress regulon genes. Significant numbers of non-synonymous amino acid changes were observed in the coding region of the CBF regulon genes. Considering the limited knowledge about regulatory interactions between transcription factors and their target genes in the model plant A. thaliana, we have adopted a powerful systems genetics approach- Network Component Analysis (NCA) to construct an in-silico transcriptional regulatory network model during response to cold stress. The resulting regulatory network contained 1,275 nodes and 7,720 connections, with 178 transcription factors and 1,331 target genes. CONCLUSIONS: A. thaliana ecotypes exhibit considerable variation in transcriptome level responses to non-freezing cold stress treatment. Ecotype specific transcripts and related gene ontology (GO) categories were identified to delineate natural variation of cold stress regulated differential gene expression in the model plant A. thaliana. The predicted regulatory network model was able to identify new ecotype specific transcription factors and their regulatory interactions, which might be crucial for their local geographic adaptation to cold temperature. Additionally, since the approach presented here is general, it could be adapted to study networks regulating biological process in any biological systems.
Project description:The C-Repeat Binding Factor (CBF) cold-response pathway has a prominent role in cold acclimation, the process whereby certain plants increase tolerance to freezing in response to low nonfreezing temperatures. In Arabidopsis, the CBF pathway is characterized by rapid induction of the C-Repeat Binding Factor 1 (CBF1), CBF2, and CBF3 genes, which encode transcriptional activators, followed by induction of the CBF-targeted genes known as the "CBF regulon." Expression of the CBF regulon results in an increase in freezing tolerance. Previous studies established that CBF1, CBF2, and CBF3 are subject to circadian regulation and that their cold induction is gated by the circadian clock. Here we present the results of genetic analysis and ChIP experiments indicating that both these forms of regulation involve direct positive action of two transcription factors that are core components of the clock, i.e., Circadian Clock-Associated 1 (CCA1) and Late Elongated Hypocotyl (LHY). In plants carrying the cca1-11/lhy-21 double mutation, cold induction of CBF1, CBF2, and CBF3 was greatly impaired, and circadian regulation of CBF1 and CBF3 was essentially eliminated; circadian regulation of CBF2 continued, although with significantly reduced amplitude. Circadian regulation and cold induction of three CBF regulon genes, i.e., COld-regulated Gene15a (COR15A), COR47, and COR78, also were greatly diminished in plants carrying the cca1-11/lhy-21 double mutation. Furthermore, the cca1-11/lhy-21 double mutation resulted in impaired freezing tolerance in both nonacclimated and cold-acclimated plants. These results indicate that CCA1/LHY-mediated output from the circadian clock contributes to plant cold tolerance through regulation of the CBF cold-response pathway.
Project description:CBF/DREB1 (C-repeat-binding factor/dehydration responsive element-binding factor 1) genes encode a small family of transcriptional activators that have been described as playing an important role in freezing tolerance and cold acclimation in Arabidopsis. To specify this role, we used a reverse genetic approach and identified a mutant, cbf2, in which the CBF2/DREB1C gene was disrupted. Here, we show that cbf2 plants have higher capacity to tolerate freezing than WT ones before and after cold acclimation and are more tolerant to dehydration and salt stress. All these phenotypes correlate with a stronger and more sustained expression of CBF/DREB1-regulated genes, which results from an increased expression of CBF1/DREB1B and CBF3/DREB1A in the mutant. In addition, we show that the expression of CBF1/DREB1B and CBF3/DREB1A in response to low temperature precedes that of CBF2/DREB1C. These results indicate that CBF2/DREB1C negatively regulates CBF1/DREB1B and CBF3/DREB1A, ensuring that their expression is transient and tightly controlled, which, in turn, guarantees the proper induction of downstream genes and the accurate development of Arabidopsis tolerance to freezing and related stresses.
Project description:Low temperature is one of the most important factors affecting plant growth, it causes an stress that directly alters the photosynthetic process and leads to photoinhibition when severe enough. In order to address the photosynthetic acclimation response of Lotus japonicus to cold stress, two ecotypes with contrasting tolerance (MG-1 and MG-20) were studied. Their chloroplast responses were addressed after 7 days under low temperature through different strategies. Proteomic analysis showed changes in photosynthetic and carbon metabolism proteins due to stress, but differentially between ecotypes. In the sensitive MG-1 ecotype acclimation seems to be related to energy dissipation in photosystems, while an increase in photosynthetic carbon assimilation as an electron sink, seems to be preponderant in the tolerant MG-20 ecotype. Chloroplast ROS generation was higher under low temperature conditions only in the MG-1 ecotype. These data are consistent with alterations in the thylakoid membranes in the sensitive ecotype. However, the accumulation of starch granules observed in the tolerant MG-20 ecotype indicates the maintenance of sugar metabolism under cold conditions. Altogether, our data suggest that different acclimation strategies and contrasting chloroplast redox imbalance could account for the differential cold stress response of both L. japonicus ecotypes.
Project description:The CBF (C-repeat binding factor) pathway has a major role in plant cold acclimation, the process whereby certain plants increase in freezing tolerance in response to low nonfreezing temperatures. In Arabidopsis thaliana, the pathway is characterized by rapid cold induction of CBF1, CBF2, and CBF3, which encode transcriptional activators, followed by induction of CBF-targeted genes that impart freezing tolerance. At warm temperatures, CBF transcript levels are low, but oscillate due to circadian regulation with peak expression occurring at 8 h after dawn (zeitgeber time 8; ZT8). Here, we establish that the CBF pathway is also regulated by photoperiod at warm temperatures. At ZT8, CBF transcript levels in short-day (SD; 8-h photoperiod) plants were three- to fivefold higher than in long-day plants (LD; 16-h photoperiod). Moreover, the freezing tolerance of SD plants was greater than that of LD plants. Genetic analysis indicated that phytochrome B (PHYB) and two phytochrome-interacting factors, PIF4 and PIF7, act to down-regulate the CBF pathway and freezing tolerance under LD conditions. Down-regulation of the CBF pathway in LD plants correlated with higher PIF4 and PIF7 transcript levels and greater stability of the PIF4 and PIF7 proteins under LD conditions. Our results indicate that during the warm LD growing season, the CBF pathway is actively repressed by PHYB, PIF4, and PIF7, thus mitigating allocation of energy and nutrient resources toward unneeded frost protection. This repression is relieved by shortening day length resulting in up-regulation of the CBF pathway and increased freezing tolerance in preparation for coming cold temperatures.
Project description:The hydroponic cultivation of spiny chicory (Cichorium spinosum L.), also known as stamnagathi, allows the development of year-round production. In the current study, two contrasting stamnagathi ecotypes originating from a montane and a coastal-marine habitat were supplied with nutrient solution containing 4 or 16 mM total-N in combination with 0.3, 20, or 40 mM NaCl. The primary aim of the experiment was to provide insight into salinity tolerance and nutrient needs in the two ecotypes, thereby contributing to breeding of more resilient cultivars to salinity and nutrient stress. Nutritional qualities of the stamnagathi genotypes were also tested. The coastal-marine ecotype was more salt tolerant in terms of fresh shoot biomass production and contained significantly more water and macro- and micro-nutrients in the shoot per dry weight unit. The root Na+ concentration was markedly lower in the coastal-marine compared to the montane ecotype. The leaf Na+ concentration was similar in both ecotypes at external NaCl concentrations up to 20 mM, but significantly higher in the montane compared to the coastal-marine ecotype at 40 mM NaCl. However, the leaf Cl- concentration was consistently higher in the coastal-marine than in the montane ecotype within each salinity level. The marine ecotype also exhibited significantly less total phenols, carotenoids, flavonoids, and chlorophyll compared to the montane ecotype across all treatments. Integrating all findings, it appears that at moderate salinity levels (20 mM), the higher salt tolerance of the coastal-marine ecotype is associated with mechanisms mitigating Na+ and Cl- toxicity within the leaf tissues, such as salt dilution imposed through increased leaf succulence. Nevertheless, at high external NaCl levels, Na+ exclusion may also contribute to enhanced salt tolerance of stamnagathi. Both ecotypes exhibited a high N-use efficiency, as their shoot biomass was not restricted when the total-N supply varied from 16 to 4 mM. The leaf organic-N was not influenced by salinity, while the interaction ecotype × N-supply-level was insignificant, indicating that the mechanisms involved in the salt tolerance difference between the two ecotypes was not linked with N-acquisition or -assimilation within the plant. The current results indicate that both ecotypes are promising germplasm resources for future breeding programs.