Isolation and characterization of cold-regulated transcriptional activatorLpCBF3gene from perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenneL.)

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In plants, low temperatures can activate the CBF cold response pathway playing a prominent role in cold acclimation by triggering a set of cold-related gene expressions. CBF homologous gene, designated as LpCBF3, from a cold-tolerant perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) accession was identified. It carries the sequences for nuclear localization signal (NLS), AP2 DNA-binding domains and an acidic activation present in most of the plant CBF proteins. Southern analysis indicated the presence of three homologs of LpCBF3 gene in perennial ryegrass genome, and only one amino acid variation in LpCBF3 protein between cold-tolerant and -sensitive perennial ryegrass accessions. In their putative promoter regions, some differential regions were found. Northern blotting and RT-PCR analysis found that LpCBF3 reached the highest expression after 1.5 h of cold treatment (4°C). The COR homologous gene, a downstream gene of CBF, can be expressed in the plant stem of cold-tolerant perennial ryegrass accessions without cold treatment. Without cold treatment, the COR gene cannot be activated in cold-sensitive perennial ryegrass accessions. Cold treatment can prompt expression levels of COR homologous genes in both perennial ryegrass accessions. In transgenic Arabidopsis, the overexpression of LpCBF3 with the 35S promoter resulted in dwarf-like plants, later flowering and greater freezing tolerance.

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