lncRNA MtCIR2 positively regulates plant-freezing tolerance by modulating CBF/DREB1 gene clusters

作  者:Zhao MG, Tian R, Sun XH, Zhang WH*
刊物名称:Plant Cell and Environment
卷:  期:  页码:DOI: 10.1111/pce.14611


Emerging evidence suggests that long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are involved in regulation of plant response to environmental stress. CBF/DREB1s are highly conserved transcription factors that regulate response to cold stress in plants. However, very few lncRNAs were found to regulate expression of CBFs and cold tolerance in plant. Here, we identified a cold-responsive long intergenic noncoding RNA (MtCIR2) of CBF/DREB1 genes that were located in a major freezing tolerance QTL region of legume Medicago truncatula. We found that response of MtCIR2 transcription was more rapid than that of MtCBF/DREB1s during cold treatment. MtCIR2 positively regulated M. truncatula freezing tolerance, such that overexpression of MtCIR2 led to higher survival rate and lower cell membrane damage than wild-type plants, while mutation of MtCIR2 rendered the mutants more sensitive to cold stress. In addition, expression levels of MtCBF/DREB1s were up-regulated in the MtCIR2 overexpressing lines and down-regulated in the mutants. Among the MtCIR2-regulated genes, the strongest enriched genes were those involved in polysaccharide metabolic processes. In addition, we demonstrated that overexpression of MtCIR2 led to increases in contents of soluble sugars. These results highlight that MtCIR2 positively regulates tolerance to freezing by regulating MtCBF/DREB1s expression and glycometabolism in M. truncatula.