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Growth inhibition and cold-acclimation strategies help plants withstand cold stress, which adversely affects growth and survival. PHYTOCHROME B (phyB) regulates plant growth through perceiving both light and ambient temperature signals. However, the mechanism by which phyB mediates the plant response to cold stress remains elusive. Here, we show that the key transcription factors mediating cold acclimation, C-REPEAT BINDING FACTORs (CBFs), interact with PHYTOCHROME-INTERACTING FACTOR 3 (PIF3) under cold stress, thus attenuating the mutually assured destruction of PIF3-phyB. Cold-stabilized phyB acts downstream of CBFs to positively regulate freezing tolerance by modulating the expression of stress-responsive and growth-related genes. Consistent with this, phyB mutants exhibited a freezing-sensitive phenotype, whereas phyB-overexpression transgenic plants displayed enhanced freezing tolerance. Further analysis showed that the PIF1, PIF4, and PIF5 proteins, all of which negatively regulate plant freezing tolerance, were destabilized by cold stress in a phytochrome-dependent manner. Collectively, our study reveals that CBFs-PIF3-phyB serves as an important regulatory module for modulating plant response to cold stress. Copyright © 2020 The Author. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Bochen Jiang, Yiting Shi, Yue Peng, Yuxin Jia, Yan Yan, Xiaojing Dong, Hui Li, Jie Dong, Jigang Li, Zhizhong Gong, Michael F Thomashow, Shuhua Yang. Cold-Induced CBF-PIF3 Interaction Enhances Freezing Tolerance by Stabilizing the phyB Thermosensor in Arabidopsis. Molecular plant. 2020 Jun 01;13(6):894-906

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PMID: 32311530

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