Advertisement

Altering flux through the sucrose biosynthesis pathway in transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana modifies photosynthetic acclimation at low temperatures and the development of freezing tolerance

Authors

  • Å. STRAND,

    1. Umeå Plant Science Centre, Department of Plant Physiology, Umeå University, S-901 87 Umeå, Sweden and
    Search for more papers by this author
    • *

      Current address: Plant Biology Laboratory and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The Salk Institute, 10010 N. Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla CA, 92037, USA.

  • C. H. FOYER,

    1. Crop Performance and Improvement Division, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden Herts. AL5 2JQ, UK
    Search for more papers by this author
  • P. GUSTAFSSON,

    1. Umeå Plant Science Centre, Department of Plant Physiology, Umeå University, S-901 87 Umeå, Sweden and
    Search for more papers by this author
  • P. GARDESTRÖM,

    1. Umeå Plant Science Centre, Department of Plant Physiology, Umeå University, S-901 87 Umeå, Sweden and
    Search for more papers by this author
  • V. HURRY

    Corresponding author
    1. Umeå Plant Science Centre, Department of Plant Physiology, Umeå University, S-901 87 Umeå, Sweden and
      Correspondence: Vaughan Hurry. Fax: + 46 90 7866676; e-mail: Vaughan.Hurry@plantphys.umu.se
    Search for more papers by this author

Correspondence: Vaughan Hurry. Fax: + 46 90 7866676; e-mail: Vaughan.Hurry@plantphys.umu.se

ABSTRACT

To test the hypothesis that the up-regulation of sucrose biosynthesis during cold acclimation is essential for the development of freezing tolerance, the acclimation responses of wild-type (WT) Arabidopsis thaliana (Heynh.) were compared with transgenic plants over-expressing sucrose phosphate synthase (over-sps) or with antisense repression of either cytosolic fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase (antifbp) or sucrose phosphate synthase (antisps). Plants were grown at 23 °C and then shifted to 5 °C. The leaves shifted to 5 °C for 10 d and the new leaves that developed at 5 °C were compared with control leaves on plants at 23 °C. Plants over-expressing sucrose phosphate synthase showed improved photosynthesis and increased flux of fixed carbon into sucrose when shifted to 5 °C, whereas both antisense lines showed reduced flux into soluble sugars relative to WT. The improved photosynthetic performance by the over-sps plants shifted to 5 °C was associated with an increase in freezing tolerance relative to WT (−9.1 and −7.2 °C, respectively). In contrast, both antisense lines showed impaired development of freezing tolerance (− 5.2 and −5.8 °C for antifbp and antisps, respectively) when shifted to 5 °C. In the new leaves developed at 5 °C the recovery of photosynthesis as typically seen in WT was strongly inhibited in both antisense lines and this inhibition was associated with a further failure of both antisense lines to cold acclimate. Thus, functional sucrose biosynthesis at low temperature in the over-sps plants reduced the inhibition of photosynthesis, maintained the mobilization of carbohydrates from source leaves to sinks and increased the rate at which freezing tolerance developed. Modification of sucrose metabolism therefore represents an additional approach that will have benefits both for the development of freezing tolerance and over-wintering, and for the supply of exportable carbohydrate to support growth at low temperatures.

Ancillary