Freeze-induced Cold Injury in Plants

Published: 2021-09-14 19:00:10
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Category: Plants, Nature, Biology

Type of paper: Essay

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Cold tolerance is the result of complex physiological phenomenon involving many cell and plant traits. Plants differ in their tolerance to chilling (0-15 ºC) and freezing (
In contrast, chilling tolerant species are able to grow at such cold temperatures. This ability to adapt has an impact on the distribution and survival of the plant and on crop yields. Multiple mechanisms appear to be involved in this stabilization process. The most frequently reported one is the changes in lipid composition. Secondly, temperature induced change in membrane fluidity is another consequences in plants during low-temperature stress and it might be the potential path of cold injury. Adaptation of living cells to chilling temperatures is a function of alteration in the membrane lipid composition by increased fatty acid unsaturation. An Arabidopsis fatty acid biosynthesis (FAB1) mutant with more saturated membranes showed a decreased quantum efficiency of photosystem II (PSII), chlorophyll content and the amount of chloroplast glycerolipids after prolonged exposure to low temperature. A triple mutant fatty acid desaturation (fad3-2 fad7-2 fad8) devoid of trienoic fatty acids (18:3 or 16:3) produced a phenotype similar to FAB1, when plants were subjected to prolonged low-temperature exposure. In addition to membrane unsaturation, it appears that lipid asymmetry in the membrane also contributes to membrane physical structure at low temperature.
The accumulation of sucrose and other simple sugars that typically occurs with cold acclimation also seems likely to contribute to the stabilization of membranes as these molecules can protect membranes against freeze-induced damage in vitro. Besides, the protective chaperone-like function of late endrogenesis abundant proteins prevents cellular damage under desiccation and freezing stresses. The freeze-induced production of reactive oxygen species contributes to membrane damage and intercellular ice produced during extreme low temperature can form adhesions with cell walls and membranes and cause cell rupture. Furthermore, protein denaturation occurs in plants at low temperature which could potentially result in cellular damage. In cold stress-tolerant plants, biosynthesis of osmoprotectants (e.g. proline), quaternary and other amines (e.g. glycinebetaine and polyamines) and a variety of sugars and sugar alcohols (e.g. mannitol, trehalose, and galactinol) occurs for osmotic adjustment.

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