Low Temperature induces the accumulation of phenylalanine ammonia-lyase and chalcone synthase mRNAs of Arabidopsis thaliana in a light-dependent manner

Author(s): Leyva A, Jarillo JA, Salinas J, Martinez-Zapater JM


Anthocyanins, which accumulate in leaves and stems in response to low temperature and changes in light intensity, are synthesized through the phenylpropanoid pathway that is controlled by key enzymes that include phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) and chalcone synthase (CHS). In this work we demonstrate that PAL and CHS mRNAs accumulate in leaves of Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. upon exposure to low temperature in a light-dependent manner. The regulation of the PAL1 gene expression by low temperature and light was examined by analyzing the expression of the [beta]-glucuronidase (uidA) reporter gene in transgenic Arabidopsis plants containing the uidA gene of Escherichia coli under the control of the PAL1 promoter. The results indicate that the accumulation of PAL1 mRNA is transcriptionally regulated. Histochemical staining for [beta]-glucuronidase activity showed that the PAL1 promoter is preferentially activated in photosynthetically active cells, paralleling anthocyanin accumulation. Moreover, we show that light may also be implicated in the regulation of the CHS gene in response to bacterial infiltration. Finally, using two transparent testa Arabidopsis mutants that are unable to accumulate anthocyanins, we demonstrate that these pigments are not required for successful development of freezing tolerance in this species.

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