• Arabidopsis thaliana ;
  • carbohydrate compartmentation;
  • cold acclimation;
  • mathematical modeling;
  • steady-state analysis


  • Accessions of Arabidopsis thaliana originating from climatically different habitats show different levels of cold acclimation when exposed to low temperatures. The central carbohydrate metabolism plays a crucial role during this acclimation. Subcellular distribution of carbohydrates over the compartments cytosol, vacuole and plastids, and putative interactions of the compartments, are analyzed in three differentially cold-tolerant accessions of Arabidopsis thaliana, originating from the Iberian Peninsula (C24), Russia (Rschew) and Scandinavia (Tenela), respectively.
  • Subcellular carbohydrate concentrations were determined by applying the nonaqueous fractionation technique. Mathematical modeling and steady-state simulation was used to analyse the metabolic homeostasis during cold exposure.
  • In all accessions, the initial response to cold exposure was a significant increase of plastidial and cytosolic sucrose concentrations. Raffinose accumulated in all cellular compartments of cold-tolerant accessions with a delay of 3 d, indicating that raffinose accumulation is a long-term component of cold acclimation. Minimal rates of metabolite transport permitting steady-state simulations of metabolite concentrations correlated with cold tolerance, indicating an important role of subcellular re-distribution of metabolites during cold acclimation.
  • A highly regulated interplay of enzymatic reactions and intracellular transport processes appears to be a prerequisite for maintaining carbohydrate homeostasis during cold exposure and allowing cold acclimation in Arabidopsis thaliana.