Ruelland E, Vaultier M-N, Zachowski A, Hurry V
Cold Signalling and Cold Acclimation in Plants
Advances in Botanical Research: 2009 49:35-150

Abstract
Exposure to low temperatures is one of the most important plant abiotic stress
factors. In this review we describe the damages that chilling and/or freezing temperatures
can cause to plant cells. Confronted to these damages, some plants are able to
adapt through mechanisms based on protein synthesis, membrane composition
changes, and activation of active oxygen scavenging systems. These adaptive mechanisms
rely in part on gene induction. The best understood genetic pathway leading to
gene induction upon a temperature downshift is based on C‐repeat‐binding factors
(CBF) activating promoters through the C‐repeat (CRT) cis‐element. Such activation
of transcription factors suggests that cold, as a signal, has been transduced into the
cells. Calcium entry is a major signalling event occurring immediately after a temperature
downshift. The increase in cytosolic calcium will activate many enzymes, such as
phospholipases and calcium dependent‐protein kinases. A MAP‐kinase module has
been shown to be involved in the cold response. Ultimately, the activation of those
signalling pathways leads to changes to the transcriptome. In this review we have
focused on the genetic and signalling pathways activated early after cold exposure.
Much of the data cited is from the model plant Arabidopsis but when possible
evidence from other plants is presented.

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