• translation;
  • RNA binding protein;
  • cold stress;
  • drought stress;
  • ribosomal protein


RNA binding proteins (RBPs) function post-transcriptionally to fine-tune gene regulation. Arabidopsis thaliana has four Gly-rich, zinc finger-containing RBPs called cold shock proteins 1–4 (CSP1–CSP4), that possess an evolutionary conserved cold shock domain. Here, we determined that CSP1 associates with polyribosomes (polysomes) via an RNA-mediated interaction. Both the abundance and polysomal co-fractionation of CSP1 was enhanced in the cold (4°C), but did not influence global levels of polysomes, which were minimally perturbed by above freezing cold temperatures. Using a polyclonal antiserum, CSP1 was co-immunopurified with several hundred transcripts from rosettes of plants cultivated at 23°C or transferred to 4°C for 12 h. CSP1-associated mRNAs were characterized by G+C-rich 5′ untranslated regions and gene ontologies related to cellular respiration, mRNA binding and translation. The majority of the CSP1-associated mRNAs were constitutively expressed and stable in the cold. CSP1 abundance was correlated with improved translation of ribosomal protein mRNAs during cold stress and improved maintenance of homeostasis and translation of mRNAs under water-deficit stress. In summary, CSP1 selectively chaperones mRNAs, providing translational enhancement during stress.