Joint Calls

Cold tolerance for the future: the CBF genes and beyond

  • Acronym FROSTY
  • Duration 1 April 2007 - 1 April 2010
  • Project leader Heather I. McKhann, INRA Study of Polymorphisms in Plant Genomes EPGV, France
  • Other project participants Evelyne Téoulé, INRA Genetic and Plant Breeding Station SGAP, France
    Chantal Teulières, University of Toulouse, France
    Dirk K. Hincha, Max Planck Institute for Plant Molecular Physiology, Germany
    Julio Salinas, Spanish Research Council (CSIC), Spain
  • Funding National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), France
    Research Centre Juelich – Project Management Juelich (FZJ-PTO) on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Germany
    Ministry for Education and Science (MICINN), Spain
  • Total Granted budget € 827,519


Much of the work on freezing tolerance in the last several years has focused on the CBF pathway. Despite many studies on these genes, it still remains to be determined how their expression is regulated and what the precise contribution of each individual gene to freezing tolerance and cold acclimation is. The general objective of this proposal is twofold: 1) to better understand the regulation of CBF gene expression and the involvement of the CBF cold response pathway in freezing tolerance and 2) to examine other pathways involved in freezing tolerance. We will use Arabidopsis and a commercially important tree species, Eucalyptus. For the first objective, we propose to use three complementary approaches: i) the study of natural variation, ii) the use of reporter-genes as well as RNAi and over-expressing (OE) lines, and iii) the study of mutants affected in CBF regulation. In Arabidopsis, we will identify more efficient natural variants of CBF genes (coding sequences and promoters), as well as new regulators of CBF expression. In Eucalyptus, the project aims to characterize CBF gene expression, to identify the CBF regulon(s), and to obtain molecular markers for EguCBF genes. In a second part, we will use recombinant inbred lines (RILs) of Arabidopsis that are available at the SGAP for phenotyping with respect to freezing tolerance in order to begin to examine non-CBF pathways. The results we expect to obtain from this project will constitute an important step for better applying our knowledge of the CBF genes, and perhaps others, to improve the freezing tolerance of many crop plants.

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